According to United for Patient Safety, one out of every 10 patients admitted to the hospital will acquire another health condition during their stay. Patient safety issues are not limited to the hospital, either. Medical errors can occur at clinics, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies just as easily as hospitals. To raise awareness, the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) has declared the week of March 13-19, 2016 to be Patient Safety Awareness Week.
The initiative aims to get patients more involved in understanding health care safety risks and health care providers to re-educate themselves on safety protocol.
Why is patient safety important?
We trust that our health care professionals will provide us with the best possible care. When your doctor neglects to follow standard practice during your treatment, injuries and even deaths can occur. An estimated 44,000 to 98,000 hospital patients die every year from medical errors, according to NPSF.
Better educated patients and more cautious doctors could prevent the majority of medical errors. Patient safety initiatives already in place at the federal level have reduced the estimated hospital-acquired health conditions by 1.3 million cases from 2011 to 2013, reports NPSF.
Hospitals are some of the most chaotic places in the country. Hospital staff members work long hours with very little time to rest and relax. This can lead to more errors caused by fatigue or haste when nurses are trying to attend to overcrowded waiting rooms and triage beds.
The cliché that “the doctor is always right” should not be the standard attitude toward healthcare. Patients invested in their own care are more likely to catch an error such as a patient mix-up or an incorrect medication than patients who just leave everything to the doctors without question.
What You Can Do To Support Patient Safety Awareness
The best thing you can do to improve patient safety is to have a hand in your own health care.
Asking questions is one of the most important things you can do to prevent a medical error in your care. When you ask questions about a new medication or a procedure you are about to undergo, it makes the person administering your care stop and think about what she is doing. This is when she may realize that the doctor prescribed you the wrong medication or you are not the correct patient for the scheduled surgery.
Safety errors can happen at any level of care, from regular office visits for physicals to pharmacies dispensing your usual prescriptions. Medical errors can include:
- Medication dosage errors
- Wrong site surgery
- Patient mix-ups
- Missed diagnosis
- Foreign objects left in the body
- Failure to properly sanitize hands or tools
Always remain vigilant and do not ever fear questioning any aspect of your health care. If a diagnosis gives you an impossible situation, you have the right to seek a second opinion.
Also be sure to keep a close eye on little things like how your regular medication looks, if the pills ever look different, call your pharmacist to make sure he did not make an error filling it.
Do your research and learn about the surgical procedure you are about to undergo and ask your doctors what safety measures they have in place to protect you from errors.
Protecting Your Patient Safety Rights
If you or a loved one suffered harm during a hospital stay or medical care you may be able to file a claim for medical malpractice. The medical malpractice legal team at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Co., L.P.A. is here to listen to your situation and provide a comprehensive analysis of your rights and options for recovery.
Contact our office today to set up a free consultation, or call us directly at 419-843-6663 to get started.