Proactive Steps to Avoid Medical MistakesSeptember 12, 2019
Medical mistakes are surprisingly common in this country. In fact, according to a recent study, one in 20 patients are exposed to injuries caused by medical mistakes, many of which were preventable. Twelve percent of those patients suffered permanent disabilities or death. Human error is an unfortunate reality of the health care field, however, approximately half of these errors are preventable. Fortunately, there are steps that patients can take to avoid some of these preventable errors.
According to the director of the University of North Carolina Institute for Healthcare Quality Improvement, the study focuses on preventable errors, rather than all injuries related to medical errors. This is an important distinction because these mistakes are more likely to be fixed. The researchers defined preventable patient harm as an unanticipated, unforeseen accident resulting from medical care, and not the patient’s condition or disease.
Of the 70 studies included in the analysis, close to half were conducted in the United States. The remainder took place in Europe and other countries. Researchers studied general hospitals, advanced care specialties like intensive care and surgery centers, emergency departments, obstetrics, and primary care. Of the 337,025 patients included in the study, 28,150 were harmed as a result of a medical error, 15,410 of which were preventable. Approximately 12 percent of those errors were severe, or fatal. Most of the medical errors occurred in intensive care and surgical units.
There are effective strategies that patients can use to reduce the risk of being injured, or have their health impacted in a negative way by a preventable error, including the following:
- Find information about your health care provider. The internet is a valuable source of information, not only about your physician, but also the health care facility where you will be treated.
- Ask questions. When meeting with a doctor, or any other health care professional, do not be afraid to ask questions. If you do not understand something, ask for clarification.
- Bring a friend or family member to your appointment. This will provide moral support and help you remember details of the conversation that you may have forgotten or misunderstood.
- Take a team approach to your health care. According to an article by the National Academy of Medicine, team-based health care has the potential to improve patient care. The team functions better when there is good communication between patients, doctors, nurses, and other members of the care team.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect Victims of Medical Errors
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a preventable medical error, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the details of your case and determine if there was negligence involved. Our skilled and experienced legal team will protect your rights and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.