Snyder and Snyder's team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers, are all too familiar with how frequently people die from medical errors. Medical errors account for 98,000 deaths every year, replacing diabetes as the 6th most common form of death if the Center for Disease Control included them in their list of leading causes of death. This exceeds the annual number of deaths from auto accidents and guns. It also beats Alzheimer’s disease and pneumonia. Furthermore, medical errors are typically underreported, so no one can say with any certainty how many more deaths by medical error exist.
By and large, medical errors are preventable. While you, the patient, cannot prevent many possible medical mistakes, there are ways you can prevent a great number of them. All it takes is having a plan when you go to surgery. Here are a few pointers:
- Research the hospitals in your area. There are websites (such as Hospital Compare) on the Internet that can help you decide which ones have the best records for safety.
- Bring a relative or a friend with you to the hospital to help ask questions, write down the answers, and be your all around advocate.
- Bring a list of all your current medications, allergies and health problems, as well as your medical history, when you go to the hospital and give them to the care staff.
- Find out how "routine" this procedure is, and how many times the hospital and doctor have performed this procedure.
- Ask if the doctor and hospital use a checklist and inventory their instruments during these procedures.
- Ask doctors and other staff if they have washed their hands before making contact with you. While handwashing is emphasized in policies and procedures, it all too often can be neglected. Make sure you do this every time they visit, even if it’s just for a handshake.
- If you have drainage tubes, catheters, staples or other invasive devices, keep tabs on if they still need to be in, when/if they need to be changed, cleaned or treated, and when they can be taken out.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a medical negligence or medical error, contact Snyder and Snyder's Maryland medical malpractice lawyers for a free consultation. We have years of experience at handling cases resulting from medical mistakes and errors.