How many patients die in the hospital due to medical errors?
According to three recent journal reports, it is estimated that over 200,000 people die due to medical errors in hospitals across the United States each year. Some believe this figure is far higher, making medical errors the third leading cause of death in the country. Medical errors include mistakes in medication administration, failure to execute doctor’s orders, delayed or misdiagnosis, incorrect medical plan, incomplete medical orders, unsanitary equipment, surgical mistakes and more. Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of medical malpractice should contact a New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Protecting Yourself in the Hospital
If you have entered the hospital for care, surgery, or treatment, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from medical malpractice. Take the following precautions:
- Check that any medications given are intended for you and ask what they are for;
- If you are not satisfied with the answers you are given by an attending physician, seek a second opinion;
- In preparing for surgery, ask your surgeon about his or her experience performing the planned procedure, its complication rate, and mortality risks;
- Meet with the anesthesiologist before surgery and ask him or her what measures will be taken to avoid errors;
- Ask about alternative treatments and risks and benefits of proposed treatments;
- Review your medical records; and
- Have a pharmacist review your prescriptions for potential interactions.
While patients should not have to worry about receiving inadequate medical care, the sad truth is that medical malpractice happens at alarmingly high rates. By taking these and other steps to minimize your risk of malpractice, you can protect your health.
Suing a Hospital for Negligence
If you are injured while in the hospital, you may be wondering whether you can sue the hospital itself for negligence. Generally, hospitals can be held legally accountable for the actions of their employees. Employees typically include nurses, medical technicians, and other hospital support personnel. The status of the doctors who work in the hospital varies. Many doctors are considered independent contractors, and thus the hospital cannot be liable for their negligence, although you can sue the doctor. Each instance of hospital malpractice is unique and must be closely reviewed by a medical malpractice attorney.