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Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP | Mar 7, 2019

Understanding the Different Forms of Hospital Errors

Categories: Medical Malpractice

What would you do in a difficult situation in which a medical professional you trust does something wrong? How would you approach a situation in which the people who are supposed to look out for your health and well-being turn out to be the people who cause you harm?

Unfortunately, these types of incidents are far more common than they should be. Under the law, they’re referred to as hospital errors and are subject to medical malpractice lawsuits when someone sustains harm as a result.

Medical professionals who act in a negligent manner can be held accountable for their actions by the person who was injured. However, it’s important for you to recognize what forms of hospital errors exist so you know what to expect and what comes next.

Surgical Errors

Far too often, hospitals have problems with their systems and communication. These systemic communication breakdowns leave the patient open to the potential for surgical errors to occur as a result of the failures.

For instance, some communications errors may result in the doctor getting the wrong patient records. This can continue to be a problem if the doctor fails to ask the patient for their name and birthdate when entering the room to confirm they have the right patient.

If communication is poor and systems fail there are other problems that can arise, such as misdiagnosis. Poor communication can also result in a surgical error that can occur such as surgery being performed on the wrong body part or surgery being performed on the wrong patient.

Emergency Room Errors

People go to the emergency room quite often—in fact, the United States annual average for emergency room visits is over 136 million. While many of those cases are handled in an effective manner, there are some situations in which errors can occur.

In the emergency room, where there are numerous individuals being checked by doctors and nurses, there is plenty of potential for misdiagnosis, communication issues, and incorrect patient information being transferred. However, other problems can exist, such as the spread of infections.

It’s important for the emergency room staff to make sure patients are properly assessed for their problems. The initial check on the patient should be done in a manner that helps diagnose the problem to determine if treatment is needed, or what the appropriate course of action should be.

Failure to identify serious or life-threatening health concerns can result in long-term harm and further need for medical attention.

Medication Errors

Following a medical procedure or diagnosis, a patient may be prescribed medication to help them with whatever symptoms they are experiencing. This is typically a way to ensure pain is managed or any viruses are eliminated.

Medications, however, can have an undesired impact on the individual taking them:

  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may have allergic reactions to the medications prescribed to them. It’s important for doctors to understand what pre-existing allergies are known prior to prescribing the medicine to prevent giving the patient something that could cause more harm.
  • Incorrect Dosage: A prescription with an incorrect dosage can be very problematic for a patient. Too much of a dosage can lead to overdose. Too little of the medication and it can cause the individual to still experience the symptoms from their condition.
  • Misdiagnosis: If a patient is misdiagnosed, they may not receive the proper medication they need. Instead, they may be prescribed something for a condition they do not have, allowing their actual condition to worsen.
  • Drug Interactions: One of the questions that doctors should ask is whether or not the patient is already taking medication. This is because some medications can be harmful when mixed. If the doctor prescribes a medication without knowing the current medication the patient is on, drugs may not interact properly and can cause harm to the patient.

Environmental Errors

Many issues can occur when you consider the environmental problems that may exist in a hospital. One potential situation can include fire dangers from defective wiring, electrical outlet problems, and certain gases that may be flammable in the area.

Another environmental error can exist when infections and bacteria are not properly isolated. If someone with a serious infection is exposed to other patients, it could cause the illness or condition to spread to other patients.

Knowing When to Hire a Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you encounter a problem with a medical professional or medical facility, you may have the right to file a lawsuit to pursue justice and compensation. However, it’s important for you to fully understand what errors can exist before you take legal action to know what to expect and what you can do moving forward.

Medical malpractice is something that should never be tolerated and our team at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber is here to help. We aim to help you understand your rights and protect your well-being throughout the entire process.

Our Cleveland medical malpractice lawyers have the experience and knowledge you need to successfully build a strong claim against the negligent party. Trust that we’re looking out for you every step of the way.

Call our legal team today at (216) 600-0114 to discuss your potential case if you’ve sustained harm as a result of negligent medical professionals. When your rights and future are on the line, we’re the advocates you can trust