Patients in North Carolina hospitals expect that the doctors and medical staff will take care of them at any cost and would never put them into harm’s way. After all, with malpractice suits on the rise, wouldn’t hospitals be extra careful to avoid as many mistakes as possible?
According to a recent study however, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and it would seem that despite recent negative publicity, the problem isn’t getting any better.
When a medical student brought her 88-year-old mother into the hospital for a mild case of gout, she assumed that medical treatments could give her at least another ten years. What she didn’t expect was for hospital staff, despite contrary medical advice, to prescribe muscle relaxers to her mother which led to a particularly bad fall. Back in the hospital, she was once again frightened to find out that because of poor infection control measures, her mother was now suffering from a series of infections, each more severe than the last.
After the series of medical mistakes that ultimately led to her mother’s death, the medical student decided to go on a type of “medical crusade” in hopes of spreading the word about medical errors and placing this concern in a more prominent place in people’s minds.
Despite the onslaught of medical mistakes over the past few decades however, North Carolina residents have been disturbed to learn that out of the 100 percent of patients treated in North Carolina hospitals, 25 percent of those patients were harmed because of medical care.
Misdiagnosis, post-surgical infections, surgical mistakes, and miscommunications between staff are among the top reasons behind many of the medical malpractice suits grabbing media attention. Experts feel that if an aggressive effort to stop these mistakes isn’t started soon, many more people could be injured or killed in the years to come.
Source: US News, “Medical Errors Harm Huge Number of Patients,” Steve Sternberg, Aug. 28, 2012