In diagnosing and treating their patients, sometimes doctors don't ask enough questions or run the right diagnostic tests. Others may prescribe the incorrect dosage or medication, or diagnose the wrong condition entirely. In other cases, surgeons roll patients into the operating room in a hurry. Instead of verifying the surgical spot themselves, they rely on someone else to do that for them.
Still others rush to close up their surgery patients and leave foreign objects inside their bodies. All have the potential to rob patients of their health if not their lives.
A 2016 Johns Hopkins University study determined that more than 250,000 patients' lives are lost annually because of medical errors. This makes it the third-highest risk factor for death in the United States, right behind heart disease and cancer. Medical errors are said to result in more deaths annually than both homicides and car crashes combined.
To help reduce the risk of medical errors, hospitals have begun implementing improved patient protection methods. These include increasing the use of simulations, sophisticated bedside technology to assist caregivers in making complex decisions, and secondary providers of critical care as back-ups.
At the same time, patients and their caregivers need to be proactive. They should ask additional questions about their diagnoses and seek out second opinions. If surgery is recommended, it's important for them to ask about alternatives.
Asking a doctor about their track record in performing a procedure can help a patient feel more confident that they're making the right decision. Patients can benefit from looking up their doctors online to verify their credentials and disciplinary action that's been taken against them as well.
If you ultimately decide to move forward with the surgical procedure, it's also important that patients make sure that doctors have properly marked the appropriate body part on which they will be operating.
By employing these measures, your risk of becoming one of the statistics can be greatly reduced. However, accidents do occur. If you feel you've been improperly diagnosed by your doctor or you've experienced some type of surgical complications, a Tucson medical malpractice attorney may be able to provide necessary guidance for your legal issue.
Source: KPNX, "How to guard yourself against medical disasters," Nico Santos, May 25, 2017