Patients walk into a hospital expecting accurate diagnoses, perfect assessments, and prescriptions. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Errors can occur, and some have lasting repercussions.
Causes of Medical Mistakes:
Mistakes in healthcare facilities result from a variety of factors. In many cases, multiple factors are at play. When a doctor makes a fatal mistake, he or she can be held liable for physician negligence. Here are the top three most common causes of medical mishaps:
Doctors typically work double shifts and, as a result, are often fatigued. Nurses and other staff members are also overworked due to understaffing. Exhaustion can cause medical care workers to overlook details and make mistakes that could otherwise be avoided.
There are several instances where prescriptions have been mistyped, or worse, blood for transfusion is labeled incorrectly. Hundreds of blood transfusion errors are reported annually where blood is transfused to the wrong patient due to a typing error.
Though new members of staff undergo intensive training, experience in the medical field is often acquired on the job. This can result in fatal errors that would have otherwise been avoided.
Common Medical Mistakes
A simple routine such as cleaning hands has the potential to kill. When a nurse, for instance, does hospital rounds and interacts with several patients without changing gear or washing hands, he or she carries germs and infections that may end up infecting other unsuspecting patients.
Wrong or Delayed Diagnosis
When doctors delay a diagnosis, patients face the consequences as they will miss out on timely treatment. In addition, providing the wrong diagnosis can cause patients to face severe reactions as the medication received may worsen his or her condition.
While the effect may be minimal for prescribed medication, for sensitive medication such as anesthesia, a simple dosage alteration can have serious complications, especially during lengthy surgeries.
Improper Handling of Equipment
Equipment may be functional and safe, yet malfunction if used incorrectly. In some cases, practitioners may leave tools in a patient’s body during surgery, resulting in complications during recovery.
Embolism may happen during simple routine surgeries and is fatal. An embolism occurs when air penetrates into the bloodstream while surgery is ongoing. This is referred to as a venous embolism.
Venous embolism often leads to lung blockage, commonly termed as pulmonary embolism, and is one of the leading causes of death and lifelong physical disabilities.
Medical mistakes can cause patients to face unexpected expenses, lots of recovery time, and loss of enjoyment of life. Fortunately, these deadly mistakes are preventable. One of the ways patients can minimize the chances of suffering a medical mistake is by querying every procedure, diagnosis, prescription, and reaction.
If the patient can’t probe as such, he or she needs to be accompanied by a supporting person who can. Details on previous diagnoses, allergies, and current and past medication need to be shared with the physician. If death occurs, the immediate support person can file a claim to hold practitioners liable and demand compensation.