When people go to the hospital for medical treatment or surgery, they expect that the medical professionals responsible for their care will do the best job possible. The last thing on your mind is suffering further injury.
According to U.S. News, more than 200,000 people die from preventable medical errors each year, and up to 20 times more likely to suffer from errors that severely injure them. A new study suggests that medical errors in hospitals and other healthcare facilities are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States every year, which is more than accidents, respiratory disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.
The most common preventable medical errors include:
- Medication errors. Known as the most common type of medical error, mistakes regarding medication are also the most preventable. Administering medication based on inadequate information, lack of proper warning labels, and miscommunication errors due to poor handwriting are some examples of common medication errors. Avoid this problem by understanding what exactly you are taking and how much of it.
- Infection. We expect hospitals to be clean and uphold strict hygiene and sanitation measures. However, given the high traffic of people with various infections every day, workers can become contaminated and spread the illness on to patients who weren’t ill to begin with. Always ask your doctor if he or she washed their hands after visiting the last patient and practice effective hygiene techniques.
- Poor communication. Communication errors can occur between patient and doctor, as well as between doctor and other medical professionals. With a multitude of patients to look after, tests to perform, and lab results to review, the potential for miscommunication is extremely high. Take it upon yourself to help your doctor remember every test you took and update your medical history consistently.