According to a new report by The Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety, there were roughly 62,000 medial errors in Massachusetts in a single calendar year. The study was conducted by analyzing
health insurance claims data and surveying people who had suffered due to a medical error. The Betsy Lehman Center said its reporting most likely underestimates the number of medical errors. The most common types of errors include pressure ulcers, bedsores, and postoperative infections.
12% of these medical errors resulted in death. 28% of patients who endured medical errors continued to feel physical symptoms a year after the injury took place. Thesemedical errors resulted in $617 million in excess health care costs.
Adding insult to injury, health care providers rarely apologized or offered financial compensation to patients who were hurt due to errors. Many of these patients have become less trusting of the health care industry. 37% of patients report that they avoid seeking medical care three to six years after the error because they’re afraid that another error could occur.
How a Patient can Prevent Medical Errors
- Inform your doctors on any prescription medicine, over the counter medicine, supplements, and vitamins you’re on.
- Inform your doctor about any allergies you have.
- Make sure your doctor knows about all your health conditions.
- When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, make sure it’s the medicine your doctor prescribed!
- If you have questions about the directions on the medicine label, ask your doctor.
- When you’re discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor the about the treatment plan you will be following at home. Make sure they explicitly explain the plan and give you written directions!
- If you have a choice, choose a hospital that has a good reputation.
- Ask all healthcare workers who come in contact with you if they have washed their hands.
- Ask your doctor if your treatment is based on the latest evidence in the field.
- Ask a family member to come with you to your appointments so he/she can speak up for you if you forget.