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Ladenburg Law / September 24, 2019
Today we’ll look at some common medical errors and provide you with a few simple steps you can take to help prevent them. We’ll also explain how to know if a medical error is serious enough to be malpractice.
Simply put, a medical error is any preventable mistake that can have a negative outcome.
Errors can happen at any and all phases of medical care. In our personal injury practice, we’ve helped clients who’ve received improper dosages of medicines, experienced surgical errors, or received misdiagnoses. Sometimes, it’s a doctor that’s made a mistake. Other times, it may be a faulty hospital system to blame. Often, there is a human element to blame (for instance, a breakdown in communication or tired, overworked staff).
Here are some things to keep in mind as we move through this topic:
While there are many different kinds of medical errors, here are some of the most common ones.
Of course, there are many other types of medical errors we’ve not included. But, these examples illustrate the many different ways errors can happen when it comes to receiving medical care.
One glaring problem is understanding exactly how many medical errors happen each year. One popular John Hopkins’ study suggests that medical errors kill over 250,000 people each year, making it the third-leading cause of death in the US. This study has its critics, who find those numbers to be sensationalized. So, who’s right?
Part of the problem is that there is no clear way to collect data about medical errors. Death certificates only allow one cause of death to be listed. Suppose a patient died because his nurse administered an accidental overdose of medication. The official cause of death might be listed as “coronary failure.” See the problem?
Inflating the numbers can make people’s trust in their health care providers decline. But, more needs to be done to report these errors and explore what’s causing them.
As a patient, you need to be your own health advocate. This doesn’t mean you need to walk around with a deep-seated skepticism of all doctors. Nor does it mean you should expect errors to occur.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce your chance of being a victim of a medical error:
Above all, remember to be involved in all aspects of your health care.
How can you know if the error is serious enough to consider a malpractice claim?
In general, these three elements must be present in order for you to have a malpractice claim:
Medical malpractices lawsuits are often complicated, and labor intensive to pursue. We recommend the advice of a trusted medical malpractice lawyer for these situations.
Need some help to determine if you’ve experienced a medical error or malpractice? We can help you. We’d be happy to discuss your case at no cost. Call the Ladenburg Law Injury Attorneys at 253.272.5226.
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