A medical mistake is something most people cannot even imagine. Going to a doctor, hospital or nursing home is often something people do when they are seeking relief from suffering. You place your trust in medical professionals when you are at your most vulnerable, and you may never expect that you have misplaced your trust.
Nevertheless, medical errors are among the most common causes of death in California and across the country. Close to 15% of Medicare patients suffer injuries from mistakes made by doctors, nurses, surgeons and other professionals. How does this happen? In a profession where the stakes are so high, how is it possible for health care experts to make so many errors at so great a cost?
Getting to the bottom of medical mistakes
Johns Hopkins released a report of a recent study in which they examined the root causes of some of the most common medical errors. You may find it interesting to learn that your medical treatment often involves numerous people, including nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists and perhaps doctors from various specialties. A breakdown in communication among these different practitioners and teams can have devastating results for you. Poor communication is one of the most common root causes of medical errors. Others include the following:
- Negligence in collecting adequate information from you, including your medical history, allergies or recent medical conditions
- Overworked staff or shifts with inadequate coverage
- Poor hospital policies for patient care and follow-up
- Failure of the outgoing staff to adequately transfer information about your care to the incoming staff
- Failure to confirm your identity and the plan of treatment or obtain consent before performing procedures
When examining the underlying causes of medical mistakes, the most obvious one may be that your doctor or nurse simply acted negligently. This may include failure to follow protocol, poor documentation of your care or even insufficient knowledge of your condition and the treatment you need. On the other end of the spectrum is the potential for defective medical devices or equipment that are beyond the control of your doctors and nurses.
No matter the root cause, if you have suffered because of a medical error, you have the right to seek answers to your questions. An experienced and determined attorney can help you explore every aspect of the medical mistake that caused you injury and assist you in pursuing fair compensation for your pain and suffering.