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New York Hospital Errors Attorneys

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Hospital Deaths Due to Medical Errors | Prescription Errors in Hospitals

Hospital errors can create adverse effects in patients, and sometimes even result in death. If accepted medical standards indicate that the error was preventable or avoidable, grounds may exist to take legal action.

Hospital errors are prevalent in the United States. A report published by researchers from John Hopkins University estimated that avoidable hospital deaths were greater than 250,000 per year. A recent study also claims that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.

According to the Journal of Patient Safety, even when deaths in hospitals caused by medical errors shorten a terminally ill patient's life, this is unacceptable.

There is an increasing awareness today of the need for preventing medical errors in hospitals.

Common Causes of Hospital Deaths Due to Medical Errors

The types of mistakes made in hospitals that harm patients involve any number of medical professionals who all owe a duty of care to their patients: doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, radiologists, technicians and other personnel.

Medication Errors in Hospitals

Improper doses of medicine are the most common medication errors in hospitals.

Causes of medication errors in hospitals vary. Dispensing errors in a hospital pharmacy are one type of error. The wrong medication, wrong dosage or administering the medication to the wrong patient are sometimes traced back to the pharmacy. However, not all errors necessarily originate with the pharmacy. A nurse can mix up charts and administer a medicine to the wrong patient or read the chart incorrectly and administer the wrong dosage.

Because errors are prevalent, hospital administrators often implement guidelines on preventing medication errors in hospitals.

Other Common Hospital Errors

Some other common types of hospital errors include:

  • Surgical errors. Patient identification errors in hospitals are a common cause of performing surgery on the wrong patient. Other surgical errors include improperly done incisions, operating on the wrong body part or area and performing an unnecessary surgery due to a wrong diagnosis. Leaving a surgical instrument in a body cavity is an error that should never occur but all too often does.
  • Emergency room errors. Hospital emergency room personnel can be in a rush and misdiagnose a patient. Understaffing that leads to overworked personnel can often result in such errors. Other errors include the failure to control infection or drug errors in hospitals.
  • Anesthesia errors. Anesthesia errors occur when the patient is not monitored, when complications are not quickly identified, when the patient is left unattended or when dosing is incorrect. Other mistakes include the failure to administer oxygen during surgery and intubation errors.
  • Bedsores. Bedsores are preventable medical errors. When hospital staff do not change a patient's position every few hours, bedsores can develop. If the condition is serious, it can damage the patient's skin, muscles or bone permanently, and in the most severe cases, it can result in death.

Some medical errors are so egregious that the medical field calls them “never events” because they never should have occurred. These are errors that are “clearly identifiable, preventable and serious in their consequences for patients, and that indicate a real problem in the safety and credibility of a health care facility," according to the National Quality Form (NQF). Examples include: surgery on the wrong body part; foreign body left in a patient after surgery; mismatched blood transfusion; major medication error; severe “pressure ulcer” acquired in the hospital; and preventable post-operative deaths.

Have You or Your Love One Been Subject to Hospital Errors?

Discuss the details of the injuries sustained in a free consultation. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, our attorneys bring extensive experience to every case we handle. We also have access to the medical resources to investigate and determine whether medical malpractice occurred. Your case matters to us. Find out how we can help.

Call us toll free at 888.519.6400, or contact us in Garden City at 516.248.2234, or in Flushing-Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx at 718.539.3100. You can also fill in our contact form, and we will get in touch with you.

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