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10 Shocking Errors That Lead To Medical Malpractice


CNN Health recently ran a story* on shocking medical errors and their findings were just that, shocking.

10 Shocking Errors That Lead To Medical Malpractice:

1. Mistake: Treating the wrong patient

  • Cause: Hospital staff fails to verify a patient’s identity.
  • Consequences: Patients with similar names are confused.
  • Prevention: Before every procedure in the hospital, make sure the staff checks your entire name, date of birth, and barcode on your wrist band.

2. Mistake: Surgical souvenirs

  • Cause: Surgical staff miscounts (or fails to count) equipment used inside a patient during an operation.
  • Consequences: Tools get left inside the body.
  • Prevention: If you have unexpected pain, fever, or swelling after surgery, ask if you might have a surgical instrument inside you.

3. Mistake: Lost patients

  • Cause: Patients with dementia are sometimes prone to wandering.
  • Consequences: Patients may become trapped while wandering and die from hypothermia or dehydration.
  • Prevention: If your loved one sometimes wanders, consider a GPS tracking bracelet.

4. Mistake: Fake doctors

  • Cause: Con artists pretend to be doctors.
  • Consequences: Medical treatments backfire. Instead of getting better, patients get sicker.
  • Prevention: Confirm online that your physician is licensed.

5. Mistake: The ER waiting game

  • Cause: Emergency rooms get backed up when overcrowded hospitals don’t have enough beds.
  • Consequences: Patients get sicker while waiting for care.
  • Prevention: Doctors listen to other doctors, so on your way to the hospital call your physician and ask them to call the emergency room.

6. Mistake: Air bubbles in the blood

  • Cause: The hole in a patient’s chest isn’t sealed airtight after a chest tube is removed.
  • Consequences: Air bubbles get sucked into the wound and cut off blood supply to the patient’s lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain. IF left uncorrected, the patient dies.
  • Prevention: If you have a central line tube in you, ask how you should be positioned when the line comes out.

7. Mistake: Operating on the wrong body part

  • Cause: A patient’s chart is incorrect, or a surgeon misreads it, or surgical draping obscures marks that denote the correct side of the operation.
  • Consequences: The surgeon cuts into the wrong side of a patient’s body.
  • Prevention: Just before surgery, make sure you reaffirm with the nurse and the surgeon the correct body part and side of your operation.

8. Mistake: Infection infestation

  • Cause: Doctors and nurses don’t wash their hands.
  • Consequences: Patients can die from infections spread by hospital workers.
  • Prevention: It may be uncomfortable to ask, but make sure doctors and nurses wash their hands before they touch you, even if they’re wearing gloves.

9. Mistake: Lookalike tubes

  • Cause: A chest tube and a feeding tube can look a lot alike.
  • Consequences: Medicine meant for the stomach goes into the chest.
  • Prevention: When you have tubes in you, ask the staff to trace every tube back to the point of origin so the right medicine goes to the right place.

10. Mistake: Waking up during surgery

  • Cause: An under-dose of anesthesia.
  • Consequences: The brain stays awake while the muscles stay frozen. Most patients aren’t in any pain but some feel every poke, prod, and cut.
  • Prevention: When you schedule surgery, ask your surgeon if you need to be put asleep or if a local anesthetic might work just as well.

Shockingly – medical mistakes and malpractice are the third leading cause of death in America.  What’s more – the United States spends more per capita and a higher percentage of its GDP on healthcare than any other country. The result… The U.S. ranks 29th in infant mortality ( and 46th in life expectancy (WHO) to go with medical care is the third leading cause of death.

If you are ever the victim of medical malpractice call a qualified Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer. A knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

For over 60 years, the medical malpractice lawyers at RisCassi and Davis have been working hard to protect our clients. What’s more, all of our attorneys have been honored by inclusion in the 2012 New England Super Lawyers and Rising Stars… and the Hartford law firm of RisCassi and Davis is “Top Listed” in the 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® with the most listed attorneys representing injury victims in personal injury law in Hartford. The firm is also ranked a Tier 1 law firm in Hartford in Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms.”  We have a great team dedicated to medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us if we can help you.

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