What Are the Most Common Hospital Mistakes?
When you check into a hospital, you are entrusting that facility with the most precious thing you possess: your life. There is little that individual patients can do to control the quality of care they receive while they are inpatients in a hospital. Fortunate patients might have a spouse or family member who is willing to advocate on their behalf, but even then, it can be difficult to tell whether the staff members tasked with providing care are doing so with their full attention and while following all necessary protocols.
Sadly, many patients in New York hospitals suffer serious injuries, worsened conditions, or even death due to errors committed by hospital staff such as doctors, nurses, and nursing assistants. Hospital mistakes can leave victims with devastating costs, painful injuries, and emotional harm, and hospitals may owe their victims compensation for their role in these errors. Learn more about the most common hospital mistakes below. If you or a loved one has been injured by a mistake committed in a New York hospital, contact a seasoned NYC medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Seven common mistakes in New York hospitals
- Misdiagnosis: Determining the cause of symptoms is a critical first step in ensuring that a patient receives the correct treatment and medication. If patients receive the wrong diagnosis, they might not get the medical attention they need to recover. Likewise, if the diagnosis is delayed, the patient may begin treatment for their ailment after they have already suffered significant harm, or even after it is too late for the patient to make a full recovery.
- Infection: Hospitals are by their very nature teeming with disease. If nurses and doctors are not careful to disinfect their hands between visiting different patients, they put their patients at risk of contracting grave illnesses. Other hospital staff members should be devoted to cleaning and sanitizing all hospital surfaces, changing linens regularly, and sterilizing instruments that will be used on patients.
- Prescription medication errors: Many drugs can become dangerous to patients when they are combined with other medications or when issued to patients in the wrong quantity. When hospital staff members give patients the wrong drug, or give the correct drug in the wrong dosage, patients can suffer irreparable harm.
- Surgical errors: There are countless ways that a surgery can go wrong if physicians do not exercise care during the surgical process. Hospital staff might leave objects in the patient after surgery, such as clamps or sponges, or they could conduct surgery on the wrong site or wrong limb of a patient.
- Defective use of a medical device: Medical devices are often recalled due to discoveries about manufacturing or design flaws. Hospitals have an obligation to track medical device recalls and discontinue using devices that have been deemed unsafe. Additionally, many medical devices such as pacemakers and stents require careful placement within the patient in order to function properly and be safe for the patient. When hospitals do not place these devices correctly, patients can continue to suffer the same harm that brought them to the hospital or even experience new injuries.
- Failure to monitor patients carefully: A seriously ill patient may experience swift changes in their condition, and these changes often require intervention by hospital staff. If hospitals suffer from major understaffing for cost-cutting reasons, they might not be able to provide the level of monitoring that patients need and deserve.
- Failure to communicate: Communication is a crucial aspect of patient care. If hospital staff does not make careful note of the treatments, medications, or changes in the condition of each patient, there will be no way for other team members to provide the right treatment or follow-up with their patients. Staff must also be diligent about communicating information about patients’ conditions when handing off their cases at the end of their shift, a time when critical information is often lost. The transfer of patients from one facility to another, or to a different department of a hospital, also provides another opportunity for crucial information to be lost if records are not carefully maintained and communicated to subsequent care providers.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as the result of a hospital mistake in New York, find out if you may be owed compensation for your injuries by contacting the knowledgeable, dedicated, and trial-ready New York City medical error lawyer Leandros A. Vrionedes for a no-cost consultation on your case.