Anyone who heads to a Maryland hospital for surgery or treatment for an accident or illness may already be feeling some stress and anxiety over what is ahead. Even if your doctor has scheduled you for an outpatient procedure with minimal risks, you may still have concerns. After all, you are placing your body and your well-being in the hands of someone you barely know. Any medical procedure requires tremendous trust.
While you may not be able to express exactly what worries you, it is possible that your fear is that something could go wrong. This fear is not entirely unfounded since recent reports show that medical errors are among the most common causes of death in the U.S.
What’s at the root of a medical error?
In most cases, medical mistakes are preventable, and some — such as administering the wrong dose of medication or operating on the wrong body part — are so egregious that they should never occur. One agency has studied the most common medical mistakes and has learned that there are eight common factors that lead to most errors, including the following possibilities:
- Members of your medical team fail to communicate with each other, either verbally or through their patient records.
- Members of your medical team fail to pass along critical medication information, test results or risk factors to other teams, such as when changing shifts, moving you to another facility or transferring you to another component of your care.
- Medical professionals fail to properly identify you, assess your situation or obtain the appropriate information from you, including your consent to perform procedures.
- Your health care staff is not current or properly trained on the most effective methods of care, especially if the facility has temporary help or frequent staff turnover.
- Poor staffing may place undue burdens on members of your team, increasing the likelihood that someone will make a mistake.
- Defects or the failure of medical devices or equipment are common causes of injury.
- Your hospital has poor policies in place to protect you, including methods of documenting your care, sanitizing between patients and verifying your course of treatment.
- Human error results from carelessness in labeling specimens, documenting treatment and following protocol.
If these or other situations led to your injury or illness following a hospital visit, you probably have many questions about your options and rights. By speaking with an attorney, you may obtain the answers that will help you decide the best course of action for seeking the compensation you deserve for your suffering.