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Common medical errors put patients at risk

You trust the care you receive from your doctor and hospital. Unfortunately, maybe a little too much. Patients in Illinois and throughout the country are at risk for suffering serious injuries and complications at the hands of their medical providers.

Doctors and hospitals need to be aware of these serious risks to protect their patients before it's too late. Some of the most serious and common medical mistakes that need to be addressed include:

  • Medication errors: adverse drug events affect almost five percent o f patients in U.S. hospitals each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Medication errors can include not getting the right medication, receiving the wrong dosage or not receiving the complete dosage amount. These mistakes can lead to serious complications, including infections.
  • Diagnostic errors: recent reports show that diagnostic errors led to 10 percent of patient deaths in the U.S. These errors can include failure to diagnose a medical condition and the misdiagnosis of a condition. Both of these mistakes to lead to patients not receiving the right or adequate treatment for their condition, causing serious complications and death.
  • Facility safety: medical facilities can be compromised due to building and maintenance issues like sewage leaks, rodent infestation, proper ventilation and issues associated with complex water systems. These problems can lead to infections in patients and injuries in some cases.
  • Hospital-acquired infections: infections like sepsis and others caused by superbugs that cannot be treated by antibiotics pose a serious risk to patients. Sepsis has a 50 percent fatality rate and needs to be diagnosed and treated early.

Improving patient safety is crucial. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals need to understand these risks and what steps they can take to prevent mistakes from happening.

Patients also need to understand what they can do after being harmed by medical errors. Patients have the right to take legal action against the medical facility and medical professionals responsible for their care. Working with an attorney can help patients understand their rights and what action to take.

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