According to several studies, medical errors could cause up to 250,000 deaths per year around the country. Many of these errors are preventable. The death of Joan Rivers due to a botched surgical procedure as well as many other events have led to greater attention being paid to how these mistakes happen and what can be done to prevent them in the future.
To prevent further errors from occurring, all medical professionals are being called upon to create a culture of patient safety. This means creating a system that caters to the needs of each patient and includes a series of protocols that everyone adheres to. To ensure that the system works, it should be reviewed and upgraded as necessary. Patients should be engaged and given enough information to provide informed consent.
Taking these steps may prevent patient injuries and improve patient outcomes regardless of the type of care a patient is receiving. In a study done in Massachusetts, it was discovered that errors were common during cataract surgery, which is considered the safest and most common procedure in the United States. Errors included failure to communicate as well as the lack of coordination or other safety nets.
A patient who is harmed because of a physician’s error may be required to undergo further medical procedures and extensive rehabilitation due to a worsened condition. The financial consequences can be worsened due to an inability to return to gainful employment. An attorney representing such a patient will review hospital records and obtain the opinions of medical experts when determining whether the error rose to the level of actionable medical malpractice.