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Don’t Be A Victim of Medical Mistakes

Most people assume that medical professionals are experts and rarely question the judgment of doctors or support staff. The truth is, the third leading cause of death in the United States is medical errors. It is estimated that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. However, there are ways to keep you and your loved ones safe when seeing a doctor or when undergoing a medical procedure.

The 2018 film, To Err is Human, attempts to address factors responsible for medical mistakes. Ian Ingram, Deputy Managing Editor of MedPage Today, asks whether a film can help shift the conversation on deadly errors in medicine. Patients and their loved ones should not have to rely on a film to highlight the deaths occurring or complications arising as a direct result of medical error.

In 2016, patient safety experts at Johns Hopkins analyzed eight years of medical death-rate data. They discovered that the number of annual deaths attributed to medical error surpassed the number of deaths from respiratory disease. Yet the CDC does not recognize deaths from medical errors when collecting national statistics.

With facts and statistics that are largely not even known by most patients seeking medical attention, the risk becomes even greater that families will fall victim to the errors and be part of the staggering statistics.

Attorney John Leighton lists five common medical errors and tips to avoid being a medical mistake statistic.

1. Medication Mistakes

Lack of communication between departments, shift changes, ordering errors or dispensing errors are common causes of medication mistakes. Minimize your risks by bringing your medication bottles to the hospital. Ask questions, including about interactions with your other medications. Check online for information about known interactions.

2. Infections

Every year, 1.7 million individuals acquire infections while hospitalized that are unrelated to the original reason for their hospital visit. Wash your hands often and make sure doctors and nurses do the same. Request that frequently touched areas be disinfected during your hospital stay.

3. Never Events

Never events are events that should never occur in a medical setting. Yet between 1990 and 2010, 80,000 ‘never events’ occurred during surgeries at U.S. hospitals. Meet the entire team, not just the surgeon before you have surgery. Ask the surgeon to initial the spot receiving treatment. Remind the doctor to use the checklist to count equipment before and after surgery.

4. Misdiagnosis

Diagnostic mistakes are the most-common medical error. Get a second opinion to confirm any diagnosis before moving forward with treatment.

5. Unnecessary Tests or Treatments

Every year, $700 billion is spent on unnecessary medical tests and treatments. Find out the purpose for medical tests and treatments. Ask whether there are other alternatives to minimize your risks associated with x-rays, CT scans or MRIs.

John Leighton, Esq., is a board-certified personal injury trial lawyer and managing partner of Leighton Law with offices in Miami and Orlando. Families trust their medical malpractice cases to Mr. Leighton because of his understanding of complex medical issues combined with his status as a leader among Miami medical malpractice attorneys. Mr. Leighton represents seriously injured victims of negligence, sexual abuse, medical malpractice, violent crime, defective products and resort, travel, and vacation accidents. His lifelong passion is helping people who have had the worst thing happen in their lives.

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