Plenty of people have no problem entrusting their well-being to nurses and doctors. What those people fail to realize is that the risk of a mistake or negligence occurring in a hospital is far greater than they know. According to a recent report by Johns Hopkins, approximately 250,000 medical errors occur annually in the United States that lead to a patient’s death. Other reports suggest that number could be much higher.
Medical errors remain the third leading cause of death in the country, behind heart disease and cancer. Although you should see a doctor when you have become sick or injured, you need to be aware that mistakes are possible. If anything feels wrong after your procedure, then you should not assume it is normal. Medical mistakes happen all the time, and it is possible the doctor was negligent in your case.
What is the reason for such a high rate of death?
There are many reasons why medical staff make mistakes that lead to injury or death. There can be an error in judgment in which a doctor believes a course of action is preferable, only for it to cause more harm. Additional explanations include a system defect, improperly trained staff and dosage mix-ups. It is vital to remember hospital employees are human, and humans are not perfect. However, medical professionals still need to maintain a certain level of care to avoid negligence.
How can patients protect themselves?
The simplest thing patients can do is to ask questions. You should know everything regarding the benefits and side effects of a given treatment before a doctor pursues it. Additionally, you should seek a second opinion. Most reputable doctors will suggest patients seek this out so that they know definitively what health problem a patient suffers from. Finally, it is essential to have an advocate there on your behalf who can ask questions you may not have thought of.