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Addressing problems with high medical error death rates

New Mexico health care providers may work extensively to ensure the wellness of their patients, but there is always the risk of a medical error occurring. While errors may not be intentional, there are some actions that can be taken to minimize the risk of a patient suffering damage. Just as investigators evaluate causes in other industries after serious accidents occur, so close evaluation could be helpful for understanding and hopefully preventing future occurrences.

Hospital-acquired infections have received a great deal of attention in recent years, and facilities take various steps to minimize exposure to and the spread of potentially deadly infections such as MRSA. Providers in the hospital and in physicians' offices should take heed as these infections gain traction, making efforts to incorporate more thorough protocols to prevent the spread of related germs.

Medication errors also have great potential to cause a patient's death. However, they might be more effectively prevented through the inclusion of a facility's pharmacist on the team making dosing decisions. This could head off serious side effects and outcomes as potential interactions or allergies are identified before a deadly error can take place.

Electronic resources can be particularly helpful for reducing death rates related to medical issues, but these resources must be compatible. Future development focused on this issue could help in tracking patient data and in facilitating physician communications with other colleagues, which could make a positive impact on death rates related to errors. Electronic technologies might also be useful in more efficiently structuring patient hand-offs.

Legal assistance can be important for anyone dealing with concerns over a death or injury related to medical issues such as misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. Not all errors constitute malpractice, and it must be demonstrated that the practitioner or facility in question failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care.

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