100,000 people are killed every year due to medical errors in a hospital, says the Institute of Medicine. An article in Health Affairs also revealed that researchers discovered medical errors happen in one-third of all patients. Another study also found that one in seven undergoing hospital care experience unintended harm. There are ten common medical errors that can occur while a patient is under the care of a medical team. One of those is misdiagnosis, which can lead to a delayed treatment. Patients are sometimes not diagnosed, which can be a problem for receiving adequate care. Unnecessary treatment can also be dangerous. A mother founded Citizens for Patient Safety because her son underwent a brain surgery that was later determined to be unnecessary. He was partially paralyzed, unable to speak, and succumbed to infections. Tests and procedures that are unnecessary can have deadly results. $700 billion is spent each year on tests and treatments that aren’t necessary. CT scans can increase risk of cancel and dyes used to conduct CT and MRI scans can cause kidney failure. Patients should always ask why a procedure is necessary. Mistakes with medicine are also common, as 60% of patients in the hospital miss their medication and medication errors injure 1.5 million Americans each year at a total cost of $3.5 billion, according to news reports.
Incredibly dangerous medical errors, called “never events,” sometimes happen as well, such as infections caused by putting food down the wrong tube, air bubbles in catheters, and sponges being left inside a body after surgery. A lack of coordination and organization between medical staff and teams can lead to errors, such as getting more than one of the same test or taking medications that interfere with each other. Infections are also acquired in hospitals at an alarming rate. 1.7 million patients are affected by hospital-acquired infections each year, including pneumonia, urinary infections, and bloodstream infections. Other problems patients face in hospitals is getting discharged too early. Some patients do not understand what they are supposed to do after they get home and doctors never follow-up with them about future complications. Miscommunication is very dangerous because a patient should be completely aware of what they should be doing after getting hospitalized to avoid future problems.
Patients and their families should be on the look-out for these errors at all times and address any questions quickly and carefully. Many hospitals are taking steps to be safer, but it is up to the patient to ensure their health is protected.