A jury in Cumberland County, North Carolina, has awarded $7.5 million in damages to a woman whose lawsuit claimed that her ongoing health problems and severe illness came on after she had colon surgery back in 2010.
In May, a medical journal estimated that more than a quarter of a million deaths in the United States each year are attributed to medical errors. Only heart disease and cancer cause more deaths each year.
If you have ever been in an emergency room in a big city, you know how hectic it can be. There are paramedics bringing accident, overdose or gunshot victims, doctors and nurses are rushing quickly up and down the hallways and machines seem to always be making some sort of noise. When the emergency room is packed, it can seem like a war zone, according to one physician assistant at Mount Sinai Hospital emergency room.
As you can likely imagine, telling someone bad news in a medical setting is difficult. Imagine telling a patient, though, that an adverse event had occurred that was not the patient's fault. One study has found that it is often very difficult for surgeons to tell patients that something had gone wrong.
When you undergo radiology or laboratory testing, you assume that the people involved will do whatever it takes to provide accurate results. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
A medical mistake is often more than a simple mix up. In some cases, if the mistake is serious enough, it can result in serious injury or even death.
People often blindly trust their doctors. They simply assume that the doctor has their best wishes in mind, as he or she is supposed to. The reality, though, is that doctors may only be thinking about themselves, and they may not be as trustworthy as they appear. Health Affairs recently carried out a study in which they talked to around 2,000 health care professionals. Below are some of the key points that they discovered:
With each passing year, the practice of medicine becomes more and more specialized. While this is a good thing to a certain degree, it can also lead to confusion. For example, family doctors don't often know when they should diagnose a patient or refer him or her to another medical professional.
Anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists have a big responsibility. It is their job to ensure that the right amount of anesthesia is given during a procedure. While this sounds simple, it is anything but that. There is a lot that goes into this decision.
Nobody wants to visit an emergency room, but if you have an immediate medical need there is often no other choice. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.