When we look at our doctors and hospital staff, we hope to see a calm and collected team of medical professionals, ensuring our care is error-free and top notch. While a visit to the hospital is incident-free for most of us, mistakes do happen. Sometimes these errors can result in not only lawsuits, but also lifelong problems for the patient, and even death. Finding out what went wrong with you or your loved one can feel daunting, but isn't impossible by understanding some of the most common medical errors. When armed with this knowledge, taking a legal stand becomes less intimidating.
When you enter the hospital, it is not unreasonable that occasionally your care is delayed as more urgent cases are seen. However, what happens when your condition worsens because you were not given an appropriate urgency level on admission? Another situation where a delayed care charge can be levied is in cases where medication was not administered on time or a patient waited for an unreasonable amount of time before getting appropriate medical attention.
Not Obtaining Consent
While hospitals these days are extremely careful in ensuring they have the appropriate level of consent, there are instances where either the patient or their family feel they were not given an appropriate amount of information prior to care, and therefore were not able to make a fully-informed decision. For example, a patient who suffers from an accidental puncture of a vital organ during a routine surgery may feel they were not fully-informed of the risks of such an accident.
As doctors are only human, occasional mistakes can be made with a diagnosis. Patients are occasionally allowed to leave the hospital before they should, thus resulting in greater injury or illness. Doctors can also miss major illnesses, such as cancer, during routine checkups.
A common problem in busy hospitals where staff are dealing with hundreds of patients and diagnoses is giving a patient the wrong dose of a medication or neglecting to administer it at all. Ensure you or your loved ones are aware of your dosages, and fully inform any hospital staff of any additional medication you are taking.
Poor Supervision of Staff
Hospitals hire and have on hand a multitude of staff at various levels of training. This can be particularly problematic in hospitals that play host to medical students, who sometimes stand in for absent doctors or fully-trained staff. Without the proper training, this can lead to a dangerous situation for an unsuspecting patient.
While hospital care is usually drama-free, every once in a while a problem can occur due to human error. When discovering these issues, it's important to understand exactly what happened so you are better able to discuss the situation with an attorney and the hospital administration. Be sure either you as the patient or a trusted friend or family member always understands what is going on and what is being done.