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Dealing with the likelihood of errors in medical care

People in New Mexico expect their health care providers to deliver the best care possible. However, many factors could interfere with that goal. According to a recent study, medical errors may be one of the leading causes of death in the country. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have determined that errors are most likely to occur because of staff shift changes, administration of drugs or the transfer of patients between facilities.

While most doctors strive for perfection, medical errors are an unfortunate reality. After the Department of Health and Human Services reviewed medical records from Medicare beneficiaries, the organization calculated that 29 percent of them had endured an adverse event. These problems ranged from temporary harm to death. Medical experts who reviewed these cases reported that 46 percent of the events could have been avoided.

While medical providers continually work to reduce errors, patients have a crucial role to play. A patient should ask questions and obtain a clear understanding of the treatments about to be given. If a patient does not agree with a treatment plan, then he or she could seek a second opinion from another physician. Before taking a pharmaceutical, a person should always ask what it is and confirm the accuracy of the dosage. For people incapacitated by illness or injury, a family member or close friend should ask questions and monitor care.

Medical errors can take place at any point. They include problems such as a delayed diagnosis, lack of informed consent and a failure to treat infections. If evidence indicates that a physician did not meet accepted standards of care, then the person might have cause for a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney who represents medical victims could document the error and pursue a settlement for damages either by direct negotiation with the health care provider or via a court trial.

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