How susceptible are you to medical errors at a rehab facility?

Oftentimes, after a patient undergoes a surgical procedure or suffers some type of debilitating medical emergency such as a stroke, the individual might be encouraged to recooperate at a rehabilitation hospital. This may particularly be the case if the patient's mobility is limited or he or she is in need of around the clock care.

A 2016 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study found that this isn't the best option for them though. This is because they found that 29 percent of all patients who end up in rehab hospitals end up contracting an infection, suffering some type of medication error or suffering some other adverse medical outcome.

For the purpose of this study, the authors focused on rehab facilities that were not affiliated with hospitals. These types of facilities traditionally have their residents engage in as much as three hours of either occupational of physical therapy on a daily basis, spread across at least five days of the week.

Of the 417 randomly selected Medicare subscriber cases they analyzed, they noted that, while some residents of these facilities suffered temporary setbacks, others faced more permanent ones or died. At least 25 percent of those residents fell victim to medical errors severe enough that led them to be transferred to acute care hospitals. The costs associated with these patients' treatment reached as high as $7.7 million during a single month.

Reasons patients experienced declining health had to do with multiple instances of inconsistent monitoring of patients, a failure of medical staff to provide necessary or quality medical care and medication errors. In at least 46 percent of all cases reviewed, researchers cited cases of patients losing consciousness after taking narcotic painkillers or bleeding excessively after being administered blood thinners.

At least 40 percent of all instances of patient harm could be attributed to inconsistent patient monitoring. It's argued that the constipation, bedsores and falls patients suffered were because of this. Although not fatal, each resulted in causing patients permanent disabilities or extended stays at the facility.

Negligence that befalls patients, especially if they are forced to endure it for an extended period of time, can lead them to experience undue pain and suffering, permanent injury and even death. If you have been victimized by hospital or doctor errors, then a Tucson medical malpractice attorney can advise you of your rights to file a civil lawsuit in your case.

Source: NPR, "Rehab hospitals may harm a third of patients, report finds," Marshall Allen, accessed Aug. 24, 2017

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