When we talk about patient safety in a hospital, we are not talking about the quality of security the hospital employs. We are talking about the steps the medical staff takes to make sure that each patient gets the highest quality care that is free of errors. Hospital errors can lead to medical malpractice and medical care providers have a standard of care that they need to uphold. When that standard of care is not upheld, this is grounds for medical malpractice.
The Scope Of The Problem
Patients are extremely vulnerable when they are being treated in a hospital, and the safety of those vulnerable patients needs to be a primary concern for every hospital.
According to HospitalSafetyScore.org, an estimated 440,000 people die from hospital errors every year, and one in 25 hospital patients suffer from infections given to them by hospital procedures. One of the more disturbing aspects of these statistics is that HospitalSafetyScore.org claims that all of these errors are avoidable. If a focus on patient safety can save hundreds of thousands of lives every year, then it is something that every medical professional should be concerned with.
One of the most prominent concerns when it comes to patient safety is the possibility of an incorrect diagnosis. The medical procedures taken in hospitals are all based on the diagnosis made by the primary physician. If that diagnosis is incorrect, then a whole host of other problems can occur which could lead to a fatality.
It is important to discern between an incorrect diagnosis due to medical error, and an incorrect diagnosis that is due to other conditions. If the patient is not being cooperative, then it can be difficult for the doctor to get an accurate diagnosis. If the condition in question is known for its ability to hide its symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis difficult, then that is a situation where a doctor who does everything they should do cannot be blamed. But when an incorrect diagnosis is due to physician error, then that is a part of patient safety that must be corrected.
Medical facilities do not sound like the kinds of places where hackers could cause problems, but the continuing evolution of technology is changing that. Many surgical errors being made these days are due to computer-based surgical equipment that is not properly protected from cyber attacks. To ensure patient safety, hospitals have to remember that hackers will do anything to gain access to equipment that is Internet-enabled. Since the hacker does not care about the patient’s life, the hospital has to be more vigilant in its Internet-based security programs.
Medication Distribution Errors
One of the most significant threats to patient safety in a hospital is the incorrect distribution of medication. The consequences of getting patients incorrect medication can range from minor side-effects to fatal reactions. Hospitals need to make sure that their medication distribution system is efficient and that there are checks in place to prevent patients from getting the wrong medication.
As we mentioned earlier, one in every 25 hospital patients will suffer from some sort of infection that was contracted at the hospital. As with medication errors, infections can range from minor inconveniences to fatal events. The primary cause of infections is an inefficient process for handling patients and sterilizing equipment.
Hospital administrators need to remember that investing in preventing infections prevents the hospital from having to spend much more on treating those infections. There are many ways for hospitals to prevent infections among their patients, and it is important for every hospital staff member to take infection prevention seriously for every patient.
Patients expect a hospital staff to have comprehensive patient safety policies in place and for doctors to do everything possible to offer precise and accurate treatment. When a hospital becomes relaxed on patient safety, as a medical malpractice lawyer might attest, then that opens the door for a series of other issues that could eventually close the hospital down.
Doctors need a good bedside manner to win over patients, but they need a thorough process to make sure that patients get the treatment they deserve. Medical professionals need to remember that their patients rely on them for the best possible care, and for the highest level of patient safety possible.
Thanks to our friends at Banville Law for providing their insights on medical malpractice and hospital patient’s safety.