Study shows preventable medical errors affect 1 in 20 patients
Avoidable medical mistakes continue to be a troubling health concern in Arizona and across the United States, according to the medical journal BMJ. The study used data from 70 surveys involving more than 337,000 patients.
The study found medical errors impact 6% of all patients surveyed, with the most significant number of mistakes related to medication and other treatments. Furthermore, results show an alarming 12% of preventable errors lead to permanent disability or even death.
Medical mistakes remain a leading cause of death
A 2016 BMJ study estimated 9.5% of all annual U.S. deaths were the result of medical errors, making it the third leading cause of death. A researcher involved in the 2019 study points out that providers often lack training, are understaffed and in some cases, are burned out.
The study concludes that providers must address inadequate funding along with staffing and training deficiencies to prevent medical errors, noting that addressing only one weakness will not improve the quality of care or reduce the likelihood of preventable mistakes.
Patients can take steps to protect themselves
While the medical system must address shortcomings in providing high-quality care, patients can take steps to improve their safety. Recommendations include:
- Understand procedures and medications and why they are necessary: Demand common-sense explanations from doctors and why they recommend this treatment
- Brief the doctor about your allergies, health condition and medications: Make sure your doctor and his staff have accurate records of your health history
- Don’t assume your provider has access to all your records: Talk to each doctor that treats you and ask to see your medical file, so you can check it for errors and omissions
- Bring a friend or family member: Have someone you trust at the hospital to keep an eye on you and to speak up if something doesn’t seem right
- Keep a close eye on medications: Double-check the type of drugs and doses with your doctor and pharmacist
Get help if you are the victim of a preventable medical error
Medical mistakes can be fatal or have long-lasting effects on you and your family, many causing permanent damage and ongoing medical bills. The process of uncovering medical mistakes can be complicated. The advice of a medical malpractice attorney here in Arizona may be crucial to finding the mistake and receiving compensation for your medical provider’s errors.