Nobody expects to visit a doctor or another healthcare provider, or to go to a hospital for a routine surgery, only to suffer a serious or life-threatening medical mistake. However, medical errors happen with some frequency, and numerous studies over the last decade have attempted to determine the cause of preventable medical mistakes and to offer healthcare providers specific information for avoiding these errors that can lead to deadly injuries. Medical mistakes continue to happen, and a new study discussed in Becker’s Hospital Review suggests that almost one in four—or 25 percent—of “seriously ill patients” have experienced a significant medical error.
How are these medical errors happening? And where are they occurring most frequently?
Survey Addresses High Rates of Medical Errors Among Seriously Ill Patients
As the Becker’s Hospital Review article explains, that data comes from a survey that interviewed nearly 1,500 adult patients in the U.S.. The survey, “Being Seriously Ill in America Today,” was conducted by a group including the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Commonwealth Fund, and The New York Times. In total, 1,495 adults who were “seriously ill” participated in the survey, and the researchers determined that almost 25 percent of them experienced a grave medical error—about 14 percent in the hospital setting, and about 7 percent in a healthcare provider’s office.
How did the researchers define a “seriously ill” patient? The term was defined by one of two situations:
- Patient defines himself or herself as seriously ill because, in the last three years, she had a “serious illness or medical condition that required several hospital visits and visits to more than one physician”; or
- Survey respondent has a seriously ill family member by the categories listed above (serious illness in the last three years that required multiple hospital visits and office visits to at least two doctors).
Reasons for Medical Errors Affecting Seriously Ill Patients
The survey drew some key conclusions about medical errors that affect seriously ill patients, including the following:
- 22 percent of patients who experienced a medical error in the hospital said that staff members were not sufficiently responsive;
- 18 percent of patients who were injured by a medical error in the hospital said they had received “conflicting information from different health professionals”;
- About 21 percent of seriously ill patients who suffered a medical error said that they “would not recommend their hospital to another patient with the same medical condition”;
- Approximately 23 percent of those surveyed said they “had to wait too long for treatments, tests, and appointments”; and
- Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed believed that healthcare providers’ “conflicting recommendations” had been problematic.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney in West Palm Beach
Medical mistakes often result from the negligence of a healthcare provider. If you or someone you love suffered a serious medical error that resulted in a severe injury, you should speak with a West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer to learn more about filing a claim for financial compensation. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC to learn more about the services we provide to injured persons in South Florida.