It's now estimated that preventable deaths related to hospital errors are to four times greater than once thought. Philly.com reports that preventable errors contribute to as many as 400,000 hospital deaths each year. Medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is first, and cancer, which is second.
The Connecticut Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Carter Mario Law Firm has put together a short list of four things every patient can do to prevent medical errors. These may seem simple, but taking the extra moment could make a big difference.
- If you are in a hospital, consider asking all health care workers who will touch you whether they have washed their hands. Handwashing can prevent the spread of infections in hospitals.
- When you are being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will follow at home. This includes learning about your new medicines, making sure you know when to schedule follow-up appointments, and finding out when you can get back to your regular activities. It is important to know whether or not you should keep taking the medicines you were taking before your hospital stay. Getting clear instructions may help prevent an unexpected return trip to the hospital.
- If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree on exactly what will be done. Having surgery at the wrong site (for example, operating on the left knee instead of the right) is rare. But even once is too often. The good news is that wrong-site surgery is 100 percent preventable. Surgeons are expected to sign their initials directly on the site to be operated on before the surgery.
- If you have a choice, choose a hospital where many patients have had the procedure or surgery you need. Research shows that patients tend to have better results when they are treated in hospitals that have a great deal of experience with their condition.
It is our sincere hope that any medical treatment you experience is done accurately. If you feel a mistake has been made, call the Connecticut Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Carter Mario Law Firm to discuss what happened. We have an experienced medical malpractice team comprising a doctor and a nurse who are also lawyers. Their firsthand experience in the medical field gives them the unique knowledge needed to recognize when an acceptable standard of care is violated.