New Study Finds One Out of Five Patients Experience Medical Errors
Doctors have a huge responsibility to their patients. We go to them for their expertise and rely on them to help us stay well. Unfortunately, it appears patients face an increasing risk from the doctors: medical errors. While many people think of medical errors as an infrequent occurrence, a recent study found one out of every five patients has experienced some type of medical error.
Researchers from NORC at the University of Chicago and the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute analyzed data from over 2,500 healthcare consumers. They discovered an astonishing 21% of patients reported being on the receiving end of a medical error. Additionally, 31% of caregivers reported a family member or friend had suffered medical error.
While some medical errors do not lead to patient injuries, 73% of patients in the study who experienced a medical error said it had a “lasting impact on their health, financial situation, emotional state, or family relationships.” To add salt to the wound, only 42% of these people reported that the facility or healthcare provider apologized for the mistake.
In fact, 24% of patients who suffered a medical error reported that the healthcare organization denied responsibility and 20% reported a healthcare provider tried to alter or hide medical records of the mistake.
The problem of medical errors runs much deeper than a simple mistake. Systematic problems rather than singular events or actions by individuals are often at the root of medical errors. According to the study, most participants indicated several causes of their medical errors.
Of the patients that reported a medical error, 69% identified a lack of attention to detail as a primary cause. Additionally, 50% of participants blamed overworked healthcare workers and 47% believed insufficient communication between members of their care team contributed to medical errors.
Don’t Be Afraid To Speak Up
Patients can often feel intimidated by their physicians, but the best way to help prevent medical errors is opening communication between you and your doctor. Ask as many questions as you need to; and, if you feel like your doctor isn’t listening, don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion.
All Patients Have The Right To A Certain Standard of Care
Even though there are things patients can do to help reduce the likelihood of experiencing a medical error, it is always a doctor’s responsibility to provide a certain standard of care. If a Philadelphia doctor or hospital makes a medical mistake, call the medical malpractice lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP today. We can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf.