5 Most Common Preventable Medical Errors
September 27, 2021
Doctors and hospitals are trusted to help us get better when we are suffering from medical conditions or injuries. Unfortunately, sometimes medical providers will make mistakes in treating patients. In many cases, these errors may have been prevented if greater care and attention were used by a negligent medical provider. When a patient suffers harm as a result of a preventable medical error, their providers may be liable for the losses that the patient incurs as a result. Below are five of the most common preventable medical errors that result in patient injury.
Medication errors can include giving a patient the wrong drug, calculating the wrong dosage, or giving drugs that have adverse interactions with the patient’s other medications or allergies. Medication errors can be prevented by taking complete patient histories to identify potential interactions with prescribed medications, and by having pharmacies and nurses confirm all medication orders. Patients should also protect themselves by understanding what medications they are being given, how often the medication should be administered, and why they are being given the medication. When a nurse or other healthcare provider delivers or goes to administer medication, the patient should confirm this information with the provider before accepting the medication.
While blood transfusions are a commonly performed procedure, recent studies have found that many transfusions were performed inappropriately or without medical need. Transfusions put patients at risk of infection, either from the blood itself or from the equipment used for the transfusion. Patients can also be harmed by being given an incompatible blood type. Transfusion errors can be avoided by confirming the patient’s blood type and by stopping to ask why a transfusion is needed for a patient before performing the procedure.
Premature babies can be harmed by errors during incubation, especially administering excessive oxygen to a premature baby. Oxygen overdoses can cause serious harm, such as blindness. Incubation errors can be avoided by double-checking how much oxygen or other resources should be provided to a baby in incubation, based on the baby’s weight.
Unfortunately, some hospital patients may end up contracting an infection while in the hospital. Infection control should be a serious effort for any healthcare facility. Hospital-acquired infections can be avoided by having hospital staff engage in frequent handwashing, by encouraging staff to stay home if they feel any symptoms of illness, and by undertaking frequent cleaning and disinfection of facilities and equipment in the hospital. Hospitals should also practice good wound care for patients to ensure that incisions or other potential avenues of infection remain clean.
Central Line Infections
One particularly common type of hospital-acquired infection includes central line infections. Central lines deliver fluids, nutrients, and medicine into the body through large veins. Unfortunately, the longer a central line is kept inserted in a patient, the greater the risk that a viral or bacterial infection can get into the patient’s body. Central line infections can be avoided through proactive record-keeping, as doctors and nurses can sometimes forget that lines are still inserted. Patients should also remind providers about central lines and ask when the lines can be removed.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Rochelle Park medical malpractice attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Mahwah, Paramus, Ridgewood, and Newark. Call us today at (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.