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Hospital medical errors among leading causes of death

Although a stay in a New Mexico hospital may be necessary based on the need for surgical or other medical intervention, it is important to be aware of the potential for adverse results. In fact, medical errors occurring in hospitals are found to be among the third greatest cause of death in the nation. According to several studies, as many as 400,000 deaths are caused each year by such preventable medical errors. Nearly as many error-related deaths may occur after patients leave the hospital.

Some of the types of errors at issue include communication problems, incorrect surgeries, errors in diagnosis, and vessel or nerve injuries. Infections at the wound site or acquired during a hospital stay are also quite serious. Omissions in the care of a patient can be problematic, and medication errors can also create significant risks to patients. The financial toll of these errors is estimated to be as high as $19 billion annually as additional care is required for those who survive the errors.

One of the most alarming matters involving medical errors in hospitals is the fact that only a fraction of the preventable instances noted by patients actually appear in their records. Studies suggest that a lack of reporting of such adverse events is most significant among cardiologists.

People who are preparing for a hospital stay might coordinate with a family member or another advocate to document activities during their stay, especially interactions with nursing staff and other medical professionals. If symptoms of a potential drug allergy are noted and discussed, for example, a record of staff members' responses might be written down for reference at a later time during the stay or in the future.

An individual might discuss medical malpractice action with a lawyer if serious injuries result from a medication error or other adverse event. Medical records could play an important role as evidence in such a case.

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