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Everything You Need to Know About Medical Errors

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Accidents happen. Medical errors can occur in any situation. For instance, in childbirth, the baby may need to be delivered via c-section as a result, or the baby may suffer an injury or permanent brain damage during the birthing process due to medical incompetence.

Even the smartest and hardest working people make mistakes now and then. However, the repercussions for these errors can vary depending on who makes the mistakes and who suffers as a result.

When a person goes to the hospital or a clinic, they put their lives in the hands of medical professionals. While most doctors and surgeons are bright, talented, and honest, accidents do happen from time to time.

Treatments can go wrong, surgeries can get botched and the wrong medications may be prescribed to the patient. From pharmacies and operating rooms to clinics and even the patient’s home, medical errors can occur.

In some cases, the consequences may be negligible. In others, the consequences can be dire and even fatal. Here, we will discuss everything that you need to know about medical errors.

Various Types of Medical Errors

A medical professional may misdiagnose a patient. For example, a patient may be misdiagnosed with cancer. 

They may end up receiving dangerous chemotherapy or radiation treatments that result in hair loss, weight loss, and leave them feeling frail.

A doctor may prescribe the wrong medication to one of their patients. As a result, they may become very ill, or their condition may worsen because they were given the wrong drug for their ailment.

Surgical mistakes may also occur. For example, the surgeon may botch the surgery, causing organ failure, hemorrhaging, or blood clots. There have been documented cases of surgeons leaving surgical tools and even medical sponges inside their patients.

The anesthesiologist may also make a mistake. They may provide the patient with an inadequate amount of anesthetic, causing the patient to wake up during their operation. Or, they may provide too much, causing the patient to go into a coma or possibly die from an overdose.

Medical malpractice may also lead to a fatal infection or the transmission of deadly viruses. For example, poor hygiene at the hospital or clinic may cause the patient to contract a dangerous flesh-eating disease.

What are the reasons for medical mistakes?

Poor communication is often a chief cause of medical errors. A lack of proper information flow can cause communication issues throughout an entire clinic, pharmacy, or hospital. 

Human errors that take place in a medical environment can lead to an inordinate amount of pain and suffering. Medical personnel tends to work very long hours. Some may work double or triple shifts due to the workload. Insufficient manpower due to resources being stretched thin can also cause medical staff to become overworked and exhausted. And that’s when mistakes happen.

For example, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of turmoil in the medical sector due to nurses, doctors, and orderlies working 80+ hours to treat millions of people who have become ill due to covid-19.

Technical mistakes involving machinery and software, such as software glitches, power outages, and even hacking can cause medical mistakes, and failure by medical staff to adhere to proper medical protocols and keep up with the latest safety guidelines can also result in medical errors.

In the vast majority of cases, medical mistakes are not intentional, albeit the intent does very little in terms of mitigating the damage that occurs as a result.

What do you do if you suspect medical malpractice?

You should contact another doctor for medical help. You should talk to another medical caregiver as soon as you can. Waiting may cause your medical condition to get significantly worse, requiring even more treatments down the road.

You should also get a copy of your health records. A detailed overview of your therapeutic interventions, diagnosis, medical history, lab results, prescriptions, allergies, and symptoms can be obtained via your health records. Trying to win a medical malpractice lawsuit will prove to be next to impossible without a copy of your health records.

Also, if possible, try and document your experiences in a journal. Jot down all of your physical and mental symptoms. Describe how the medical error has affected your life for the worse in your journal.

Furthermore, you should seek the advice of a malpractice lawyer.  Trying to represent yourself is generally not recommended. The attention and time needed to devote to a serious legal problem can be hard to obtain when you are dealing with a medical injury or illness.

Focus on healing, and allow your malpractice lawyer to work on presenting the best case possible.

The Advantages of Hiring a Medical Negligence Attorney

Medical malpractice lawyers understand the ins and outs of the claims procedure. They know how to handle a medical provider’s legal counsel without crumbling under the pressure. It is important to note that medical malpractice law is specialized.

There is an interplay between law and medicine that a malpractice lawyer will be able to leverage to your advantage. Plus, they will be able to work out if a medical malpractice claim is viable.

There is Hope

If you want to reduce the risk of medical error then you should take a more proactive role in your healthcare. Learn everything there is to know about the medications that you are taking, including side effects and possible interactions.

Do not leave anything to chance, and do not hesitate to ask your doctor, pharmacist, nurse, and/or surgeon about anything related to your overall mental and physical well-being.

If they are unable to provide clear explanations to all of your questions, then you may want to consider going to another hospital, pharmacy, or clinic.

You only have one life to live. Make it count and get the healthcare that you need and deserve.

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