About one in every twenty patients is harmed by a medical mistake that could have been prevented. That is the finding of a recent report published in the medical journal, The BMJ.
Understand, we are not talking about medical mistakes that sometimes just happen during medical care. We are talking about medical mistakes that should not have happened. Worse still, 12% of these preventable errors lead to permanent disability or death.
And this is not new information. The medical community has known for twenty years that medical errors cause the deaths of as many as 98,000 Americans every year. Yet, twenty years later, the rate of preventable medical mistakes continues to be unacceptably high.
The medical community simply has to do better.
The study, which looked at the data of 300,00 patients, found that mistakes related to medications accounted for 49 percent of harms, surgical procedure mistakes contributed another 23 percent, and infections and misdiagnoses accounted for another 16 percent. Lead researcher, Maria Panagioti, and her colleagues at the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre also found that mistakes were more common in surgical and intensive care units than in general hospitals.
The authors concluded that all medical care settings need to get serious about putting preventative strategies in place to identify and correct the key causes of these medical mistakes. Making this issue a priority is critical to improving patient safety. We don’t want to revisit this issue in another twenty years and see no improvement.
In the meantime, patients and families need to advocate for themselves. Ask questions, check medications, look to see if staff are washing their hands and using protective equipment. We all need to work together to create a safe health care system for our loved ones.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a medical mistake, our compassionate medical malpractice attorneys can help. Call 630-527-1595 for a confidential, FREE EVALUATION of your case today.
For more information, read our Medical Malpractice blog.