According to Dr. Peter Pronovost at John Hopkins University, medical errors kill more than a quarter million people each year in addition to injuring millions.
He does acknowledge that many times these harms are unavoidable. However there are several strategies patients can undertake when they are hospitalized in order to ensure that their health care providers are not making easy mistakes.
Many times patients will have similar names and the failure to verify a patient’s identity prior to a procedure or even administration of medications has led to injury and even death. Patients can make sure that hospital staff checks their name, date of birth, and wristband that may contain a barcode before they undertake any action on the patient.
Another common mistake occurs when equipment used on a patient during surgery is left inside the patient. Typically the staff is required to count the equipment used both before and after the procedure in order to keep track of equipment. However, mistakes can occur when counting, or staff may fail to count at all. What can you do? Not much during before or during surgery. However, if a patient has undergone surgery and begins feeling an abnormal amount of pain, experiences fever, or swelling it may not hurt to ask if a surgical instrument may have been left inside you.
Although it seems unlikely, there are still several people who pose as physicians but are not actually licensed physicians. This has led to medical errors occurring, leading to patients getting sicker after their visits to these fake doctors. The best way to prevent seeing a “fake” physician would be to check if they are licensed before the patient visits them.
The next common mistake has occurred to people I know. Many times when visiting emergency rooms, you will find that you have to wait for hours before being seen by a physician, or even a nurse. Patients die in emergency room every single day. The best way to avoid a long wait is to call you doctor on your way to the emergency room, or before you head over, and ask your physician to call the emergency room. Many times doctors not only listen to other doctors, but additionally, you can be admitted under your physician’s name and be admitted quicker once you arrive to the emergency room.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.