Today, medical malpractice is the cause of countless injuries and deaths of patients across America. Hospitals are looking to receive funding over the next 20 years to implement new technologies so that these types of injuries can be minimized and hospitals can have lower risks of liability. Although some medical malpractice accidents are inevitable, there are many that are preventable. Doctors and nurses are still human and they are bound to make mistakes once in a while, but with a heightened knowledge of medical malpractice and the will to prevent it, we could reduce the number of hospital injuries by twenty percent.
The first step in preventing medical malpractice accidents is an understanding of what is considered malpractice. The Atlanta medical malpractice attorney at The Tolson Firm, LLC have put together a list of the top ten causes of medical malpractice.
The main causes for lawsuits against hospitals include:
- Prescription Medication Errors - Many times doctors prescribe the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. Other times, the prescription is illegible and is read incorrectly by nurses. This could be corrected if prescriptions were not handwritten by the doctors. There are also times when the pharmacy reads the prescription correctly but fills it incorrectly. One way of correcting this problem is by utilizing robot technology. Robots are helpful when it comes to thoughtless mundane tasks like filling prescriptions, and they are less likely to make a mistake.
- Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose - If a doctor diagnoses a patient with the wrong illness or condition, then that patient may receive improper treatment. In cases like this, the treatment is not addressing the root of the issue and it could potentially cause more harm than good. Other times, doctors tell patients that they have no serious condition when in reality, they do - this is known as failure to diagnose. If a doctor does not see the signs of cancer and the condition goes untreated, it could become much worse. This is why it could be very helpful to have more than one set of eyes when looking at test results and more than one professional opinion when diagnosing patients.
- Insufficient Medical Supervision - There are many times when patients are admitted to the hospital to receive care, but they do not receive proper supervision. When hospitals are negligent and do not monitor the patient properly, or they have medical students or volunteers as stand-ins for an absent nurse, then the risk of injury is much higher. It is absolutely vital that hospitals closely abide by the CMS supervision rules.
- Unnecessary Delay of Treatment - When patients need treatment and it is unreasonably delayed, it is very easy for the delay to cause further injury or even death. When patients file these types of lawsuits against hospitals, the hospitals tend to lose approximately 39% of the time. Hospitals need to ensure that they provide thorough documentation of treatment and stay on top of it so that nothing falls through the cracks.
- Failure to Acquire Patient or Family Consent - Hospital doctors and staff need to give the patient or their family, information on their treatment procedures so that they understand all the possible risks moving forward. If the treatment or surgery has high risks, then they must get patient or family consent in order to go through with it.
- Insufficient Medical Training or Skills - The problem today is that not all doctors are forced to attend training sessions or refreshment courses to help them stay on top of their specialty. When doctors want to move into a different field or conduct a different type of surgery, they must go through the proper training.
- Wrongful Death of a Patient - Unfortunately there times when a patient dies due to an allergic reaction, heart failure, or any other tragic accident. When this happens, the doctors could close their file and move on, or they can study it and find out what went wrong and how to prevent it the next time around. It is very important that doctors are fully informed about the patient's medical history, medicine intake, symptoms, and side effects. When doctor's don't have the full story, it is very easy for them to miss something.
- Hospital Infections - Did you know that over two million U.S. patients acquire infections while in the hospital every year? Out of those two million, approximately 90,000 of them die as a result of infection. It is critical that you are aware of this danger and you actively wash your hands and focus on hygiene when you are admitted to the hospital for medical attention. You can also insist that your nurses or doctors wear gloves.
- Mental and Emotional Damages - Many patients experience severe pain and suffering when they sustain an injury or are involved in an accident. When patients become permanently disables or paralyzed and cannot return back to work, their emotional state could take a turn for the worse. Doctors should always apprise their patients about the best and worst scenario before undergoing surgery or invasive treatment.
- Miscommunication between Hospital Staff - When several different nurses and physicians are caring for a patient, they must be in constant communication regarding the patient and they must work together as a team unit. If a team of medical professionals does not work together, the patient could potentially suffer serious injury or even death.