As a patient, you believe you are in good hands, but even the best doctor can make a mistake that could change your life or a loved one’s life forever. Medical errors kill more than 250,000 people every year in the U.S. and injures millions. These injuries are often preventable and there are strategies that you can use to help your doctors and nurses get things right. Learn more about the types of medical malpractice cases that we handle and how we can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Here is a list of the top 10 most shocking medical mistakes and ways you can avoid becoming a victim of these injuries: 1. Mistake: Treating the Wrong Patient
- Cause: Hospital staff mixes up patients and their necessary treatments.
- Consequences: Patients with similar names are confused leading to incorrect treatment.
- 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 which is then left inside the patient.
- 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 you or a loved one sometimes wanders, consider a GPS tracking bracelet.
4. Mistake: Fake Doctors
- Cause: Con artists pretend to be doctors.
- Consequences: Medical treatments backfire. Patients get sicker instead of better.
- Prevention: Confirm online that your physician is licensed.
5. Mistake: The ER Waiting Game
- Cause: Emergency rooms get backed up when overcrowded hospitals do not 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 ER.
6. Mistake: Air Bubbles in Blood
- Cause: The hole in a patient’s chest is not sealed airtight after a chest tube is removed.
- Consequences: Air bubbles get into the wound and can cut off the blood supply to the patient’s lungs, heat, kidneys and brain. 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 or wrong body part.
- 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 fail to properly wash their hands before surgery.
- Consequences: Patients can die from infections.
- Prevention: It may be awkward to ask, but make sure you ask your doctors and nurses to 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 pain but some feel every poke, prod and cut.
- Prevention: When you schedule surgery, ask your surgeon if you need to be put to sleep or if a local anesthetic might work just as well.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact us immediately and fill out our free case evaluation form. Read the full article provided by CNN.com
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.