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10 Common Hospital Errors and How an Ohio Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help

May 2, 2012

If you were injured or developed a life-threatening infection in the hospital, contact our Cleveland office today for a free consultation. Or request attorney Chris Mellino’s free, easy-to-read guide to filing a malpractice claim in Ohio.

Common Hospital Errors: Medication Mistakes, Infections, and Falls

Abbreviations and miscommunication account for a large portion of the hospital errors partially because doctors often use shorthand when writing orders and directions. In addition, their handwriting is often difficult to decipher, leaving many nurses and other staff members to guess the medication and dosage.

Believe it or not, infection is another common error that can occur in even the cleanest of hospitals. Remember, hospitals care for hundreds or even thousands of sick and immune-comprised patients daily. These patients come in contact with nurses, who may be spreading the infection on to you. The rate of incidence is especially high through the use of an IV. Ask nurses and doctors to wash their hands often and you do the same.

Falls often occur when a patient takes a new medication and is unaware of how he or she will react to it. Also, hospital floors can be slippery, causing those with a walker or cane to slip easily.

Common Hospital Errors: Surgical, Pharmacy, and IV Mistakes

Surgical errors are also extremely common. Many patients receive surgery on the wrong organ or body part. Some doctors have even done surgeries on the wrong patients. Some doctors have used dirty surgical tools on patients or have even left them inside patients’ bodies. To prevent these types of errors, speak with the surgeon before you are given anesthesia. Make sure they are clear regarding the procedure to be done and on what body part.

Pharmacy errors are also common. According to a CNN article, an astonishing 30 million people are the victims of medication errors every year. Although most are minor, some can be life-threatening. To prevent this, double-check with your doctor to confirm the medication name and dosage. Also, inform the pharmacy of any other drugs you are taking that may counteract with the medication or cause serious side effects.

IV errors are also common. The most common causes are line errors or incorrect dosages. Many hospitals now use a device to prevent these types of problems.

Common Hospital Errors: Diagnosing and Treating

Incorrect diagnosis is also a common hospital error. Doctors may rely on only one test to confirm a diagnosis and therefore give you the wrong treatment, which may make things even worse.

Along the same lines, lab errors are very common. A test administered inaccurately can lead to a misdiagnosis. If you feel an error has occurred, ask for a second opinion.

Equipment failure is also common in hospitals. Medical tools can malfunction or have dead batteries, which can result in a fatal situation for a patient. X-ray machines, heart defibrillators and anesthetic machines are common tools that can malfunction.

Treatment errors are also common. Many doctors still use outdated procedures, so be sure to speak up if you feel something is wrong. Ask about the procedure and if there are any more modern alternatives. Also ask about the doctor’s level of experience.

An attorney may be able to help you hold liable parties accountable for a hospital error that has caused you injury or led to the death of a loved one. If you have a legitimate case, your attorney can gather evidence and other important documents, interview witnesses, and handle negotiations with insurers to help you receive a fair settlement. If a fair settlement is not possible, your attorney has the ability to prepare your case for court.

Contacting an Ohio Medical Malpractice Attorney

As you can see, medical negligence occurs at a very high rate. If you have been the victim of one of these common hospital errors, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a medical malpractice attorney at Mellino Law Firm today. They have an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can handle your case – for a free consultation.