Years after the widely cited report, To Err is Human, concluded that roughly 96,000 patients die each year due to preventable medical errors, a new report has found that this number has gone up. The new study reveals that current number of deaths is closer to a staggering 250,000, making preventable hospital errors the 3rd leading cause of death in the country.
While some critics assert that these numbers are so high because many of these patients are already sick, the reality is that doctors, nurses and other hospital staff routinely make preventable errors that can have catastrophic results. Examples of these errors include wrong site surgeries, prescription errors (whether in dosage amount or prescription type), failing to communicate patient needs from one shift to the next, and unwittingly exposing patients to infections.
Patients can take a few steps to protect themselves, such as ensuring they know the risks and benefits of all surgeries - and asking questions/clarification about anything they do not understand. It is also important to have a friend or loved one stay with you for any overnight hospitalizations to monitor the care you receive. Many times it is a break down in communication - especially during staff transitions - when errors occur. Hopefully the release of this latest report will lead to improved safety for hospital patients.
For more information, or if you believe you or a loved one has been harmed by a preventable medical error, please consult the experienced and compassionate Hawaii personal injury lawyers at Boswick Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.