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Hospital error basics and safety tips

Injuries can happen in various ways. Perhaps you were in a car accident. Maybe you fell on the ice and broke a bone. Maybe you were wounded when attempting to complete a do-it-yourself project at home over the holidays.

What many injuries and illnesses have in common is that they often send you to the doctor's office or even the emergency room. And while one would hope that the worst of an injury or illness ends once entering the doctor's office, sometimes a medical provider ends up making medical matters worse.

Medical errors impact patients in New Jersey every year. Some mistakes lead to more serious complications than others, though ideally all cases of medical errors would be reported and taken seriously. Such cases might include incidents of medication errors, surgical mistakes, misdiagnoses, faulty medical equipment, inaccurate lab and test reports and more. 

While all medical providers should be trained to reasonably avoid making any medical errors, specifically egregious ones, unfortunately, there are times when medical standards of care are not met. Patients might pay the price through worsened health conditions, further injury, emotional distress and sometimes death. For those who survive medical malpractice, the cost of necessary treatment after an error can be debilitating. 

Preventing hospital errors is best done through a community effort. Individual doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers obviously should be properly trained and work by the high industry standards by which they promise to practice. But patients can also contribute to improved healthcare. In an upcoming post, we will discuss some ways that patients can help to keep themselves safe from medical mistakes. 

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