NYC Medical Malpractice Lawyer Releases Data on 5 Most Common Medical Errors
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States.
New York City, Every year, over 250,000 people die due to preventable medical errors, with only heart disease and cancer claiming more lives each year. This means that medical errors are deadlier than car accidents in the United States.
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One of the first steps in reducing and preventing these injuries and deaths is identifying which types of medical errors occur most often. While medical errors can take many forms, there are certain medical mistakes that tend to happen more often than others.
According to a U.S. News report, mistakes involving medication are a top cause of preventable death and injury in American hospitals. Each year, about 1.5 million people are injured due to medication mistakes.
Health experts say it’s important for patients to be proactive when it comes to safeguarding their health while taking medication. “Arm yourself by asking hospital staff what you’re taking, how much, how often, and why… That way, when someone from your medical team comes in to administer drugs, you can match your instructions against theirs to make sure it’s the right medication — and the right dose.”
It’s also important for patients to double check their medication when they pick it up at the pharmacy. Many people get into a hurry and simply accept whatever medication they are given by the pharmacist. Health experts say it’s important to read the label on the medication and to ask the pharmacist what the medication looks like and what condition it is supposed to treat. There have been cases in which patients have received the wrong dose of medication, someone else’s medication, or a medication with a name that is substantially similar to that of another medication. Any of these mistakes can lead to serious illness or death.
Inappropriate Blood Transfusions
Most people think of blood transfusions as a good thing and a life-saving procedure. While blood transfusions are important and can save lives, health safety experts say some of them are unnecessary. According to one study, a full 60 percent of red blood cell transfusions were inappropriate. Furthermore, when a patient receives a blood transfusion, his or her infection risk goes up. Health experts say it’s important for doctors to do a thorough cost-benefit analysis before automatically ordering a blood transfusion. In some cases, a patient is better off foregoing the transfusion if it means lowering the risk of a serious infection.
Too Much Oxygen for Premature Babies
A registered nurse who spoke to U.S. News said that oxygen is like a drug in that too much of it can actually cause injury and even death. Like any other drug, it must be regulated and controlled. In a premature baby, it is often difficult for healthcare professionals to determine the appropriate dose for the baby’s weight. When premature babies receive too much oxygen, they can suffer visual damage. In the most catastrophic cases, a premature baby dies due to an overdose of oxygen.
Health experts say doctors and nurses must be extremely careful when using oxygen in newborns and premature babies. There have also been cases in which newborns received potentially fatal doses of medication due to math errors and miscalculations. In a premature baby that may only weigh one or two pounds, it is critically important for healthcare providers to use extreme caution when administering any type of medication.
People go to the hospital to feel better and to receive life-saving care. Unfortunately, hospitals are a leading source of serious and deadly infections. Each day, about 1 in 25 hospital patients develops a life-threatening infection. Healthcare providers can significantly reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infections by using good hand-washing protocol.
Central Line Infections
Doctors place central lines, which go into large veins, so they can deliver a large amount of medication and fluids simultaneously. This also helps them administer a high volume of medication without starting and maintaining multiple IV sites. The downside of a central line, however, is that it provides bacteria with a direct path to the heart, bladder, and other major organs. If a central line is not properly maintained, patients can develop serious and life-threatening infections. One doctor called central lines “a highway for bacteria to get into the blood or into the bladder.”
Act Quickly to Protect Your Rights After a Medical Error
If you believe you have been injured by a doctor’s medical error, it’s important to work quickly to protect your legal rights. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can explain the next steps in your case. In most cases, there are strict time limits for filing a claim, which is why it’s important to avoid delays if you believe you have been the victim of a medical error.
Jonathan C. Reiter NY Medical Malpractice Law Firm, PLLC
350 5th Ave Suite 6400, New York, NY 10118
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.