The Law Offices of John Phebus

Patients may be able to catch some medical mistakes

Patients in Arizona hospitals may be able to reduce their risk of being injured by a medical error by paying close attention to what's going on during their health care. Staying informed about the treatment plan, asking questions and examining medication before taking it may help a patient to avoid injury. Though there are many systems in place to prevent medical errors, health care still relies on clinical judgment.

Preventable medical mistakes can occur because of human error or a system failure. According to studies, about 46 percent of adverse medical events are caused by mistakes that could have been prevented. While many of these preventable medical mistakes can be blamed on negligent hospital staff, patients who pay attention to their health care may be able to catch a lot of mistakes before they happen.

A Johns Hopkins University study has found that nearly 200,000 people are killed in the United States every year because of a medical error. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks medical errors as the third leading cause of death. People who receive Medicare benefits are particularly susceptible to injury from medical errors, and 29 percent of them have experienced some type of non-fatal or fatal adverse medical event.

An attorney may be able to help an individual who has been injured by a medical error to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the health care practitioners that were responsible for the error. Even if a hospital is unwilling to admit that a mistake occurred during a patient's care, an attorney may be able to find evidence of the mistake in the patient's medical records.

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