A recent study published in the Journal of Patient Safety found that 440,000 people die EVERY YEAR after suffering medical errors in U.S. hospitals. That’s over 1,000 people dying every day as a result of medical malpractice and is the nation’s third leading cause of death, trailing only heart disease and cancer. And these numbers don’t even include people who die from medical malpractice outside the hospital setting.
The bottom line is that too many people are dying in hospitals because of preventable medical mistakes, not enough is being done to stop it and patients need more information to protect themselves.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF?
1. Choose the safest hospital. Consumer Reports publishes safety ratings for hospitals nationwide. See Consumer Reports Hospitals Ratings.
2. Learn as much as possible before your admission. Learn about what to expect during your admission, your treatments, any testing and especially about any medications prescribed.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak up. It is your body and your life. Also, have a friend or family member with you who is not afraid to speak up for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.
4. Bring a drug list. If you take several medications, bring a drug list with you that includes everything you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, supplements and vitamins.
5. Schedule any planned surgery in the middle of the week. Hospitals are generally better staffed during this time than on the weekends.
6. Keep a journal. This could provide other medical providers with accurate information in case they don’t communicate enough with each other. And if something goes wrong, you will have an account of what happened.
Unfortunately, statistics show that no matter how prepared you are, preventable medical mistakes happen regularly. If you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice, please contact Mathys & Schneid for a free consultation.