Here’s a healthcare trivia question for you… How many people die on average each year due to hospital mistakes?
The answer- more than a quarter million according to CNN, who just published an article featuring the 10 most common mistakes you can fall prey to when treated in a hospital.
And as CNN reports, many Americans go to a doctor believing they are “in good hands,”… I suppose because… well, they are doctors. News flash: many doctors are just humans that had privilege to attend school 12 more years than the rest of us that had to get a job (remember that jerk that played pranks on everyone in high school that’s now a doctor?).
What’s even more scary is, according to Dr. Peter Pronovost, an anesthesiologist and critical care physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, hospital mistakes are “the third leading cause of death in the USA.”
10 Top Hospital Mistakes: Some Patients Live to Tell About
“Mistakes are happening every day in every hospital in the country that we’re just not catching,” says Dr. Albert Wu, an internist at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The harm is often avoidable, and there are strategies you can use to help doctors and nurses get things right. Here’s a list of 10 shocking medical mistakes and ways to not become a victim:
1. Mistake: Treating the wrong patient
• Cause: Hospital staff fails to verify a patient’s identity.
• Consequences: Patients with similar names are confused.
• Prevention: Before every procedure in the hospital, make sure the staff checks your entire name, date of birth and barcode on your wrist band.
• Example case: Kerry Higuera
2. Mistake: Surgical souvenirs
• Cause: Surgical staff miscounts (or fails to count) equipment used inside a patient during an operation.
• Consequences: Tools get left inside the body.
• Prevention: If you have unexpected pain, fever or swelling after surgery, ask if you might have a surgical instrument inside you.
• Example case: Nelson Bailey
3. Mistake: Lost patients
• Cause: Patients with dementia are sometimes prone to wandering.
• Consequences: Patients may become trapped while wandering and die from hypothermia or dehydration.
• Prevention: If your loved one sometimes wanders, consider a GPS tracking bracelet.
• Example case: Mary Cole
4. Mistake: Fake doctors
• Cause: Con artists pretend to be doctors.
• Consequences: Medical treatments backfire. Instead of getting better, patients get sicker.
• Prevention: Confirm online that your physician is licensed.
• Example case: Sarafina Gerling
5. Mistake: The ER waiting game
• Cause: Emergency rooms get backed up when overcrowded hospitals don’t have enough beds.
• Consequences: Patients get sicker while waiting for care.
• Prevention: Doctors listen to other doctors, so on your way to the hospital call your physician and ask them to call the emergency room.
• Example case: Malyia Jeffers
I don’t want you to get me wrong even though I’m poking some fun at them- so many doctors are brilliant and do an excellent job in saving people’s lives. Truth be told, these days the doctors and staff at hospitals are forced into moving as fast as possible, which inevitably leads to errors and mistakes. I personally put most all the blame on the practice and/or the hospital rather than the doctors who will ultimately and unfairly pay for the mistake, not their employer.
With that said, please go over to CNN to see the rest of the top ten list and after you are done, come back here and share with us (if you have one) your personal story about hospital mistakes that may have happened to you ( in the comments area below).