When you visit a health care professional, you place your trust in him or her to assess, diagnose and treat any medical conditions that you are dealing with. Mistakes in the medical field can have devastating consequences for patients that blindly trust their physicians, nurses and pharmacists. More than 200,000 deaths occur in the United States each year from medical errors that are preventable, and many more suffer from the mistakes even if they do not die from them. One step to protect yourself from medical errors and the long-term effects of them is to be aware of the most common types of medical errors.
Excessive blood transfusions
Blood transfusions are vital to saving lives and are often necessary when there is serious injury. Research shows that many patients are given too many blood transfusions, which increases the chance of getting an infection. Always ask why the procedure is necessary before you undergo a blood transfusion.
Oxygen in premature babies
You may not think of it this way, but oxygen can be just like a drug. There is a fine balance between too much and too little. Overdoses on oxygen in premature babies can cause blindness, and medical professionals should always be aware of the right amount to use based on the baby's weight.
Infections from health care workers
Those in the health care field should have the highest standards when it comes to washing hands and staying clean. Moving from one patient to another without proper hand washing can spread infection and disease quickly. A better hand-washing procedure is a simple way to reduce medical errors, and any clinician who treats you should have clean hands. Do not be embarrassed to ask if a nurse or doctor has washed his or her hands before working on you.
If you are seeing more than one doctor, and they forget to check the medications you are currently taking against new ones they are prescribing, there may be damaging effects. Simple medication errors may harm more than 1.5 million people each year. Prescribing the wrong dose is also a common problem with professionals. Always ask questions before you start taking a new medication.
Central line infection
Central lines inserted into veins that are too large can open a pathway for bacteria to get into the blood or the bladder. Patients should be proactive because clinicians often forget about central lines.
There is a wide range of medical errors. If you or someone you love has been a victim of one, and you feel you deserve to be compensated, you should speak to an attorney immediately.