Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have looked at approximately 35 million U.S. hospital admissions and found that nearly 200,000 patient deaths each year were attributable to medical error. That was according to a study published in BMJ, and it would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in the nation. While some in the medical community doubt the figures and how the team arrived at them, there is general agreement that there are too many errors occurring in hospitals in Arizona and around the country.
Errors occur due to both the judgment of the physician and actions taken by patients themselves. An increasing reliance on technology and other systems has also contributed to the number of errors that occur. For instance, errors can occur when there is a lack of communication between hospital staff during shift changes or when patients are transferred between different units in a hospital.
There are several things that patients can do to reduce the risk of a medical error. Primarily, they are urged to ask as many questions as they can think of. Patients are also encouraged to be vigilant when it comes to learning about their condition and keeping track of symptoms. Keeping detailed records may help a doctor get a better idea of what may be wrong and take steps to potentially correct the issue.
Those who are harmed by a medical error may be entitled to reimbursement for the costs of care needed to correct the mistake. It may also be possible to pursue compensation for lost wages and future earnings if the patient is unable to return to work. An attorney who has experience with these matters can often be of assistance in this regard.