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Healthcare Provider Errors

Having a medical condition is scary. Since we can’t see what’s going on inside of our bodies, we rely on our healthcare providers to expertly and effectively diagnose and treat us. Advances in medical science have increased life span and quality of life, but sometimes, dangerous and even deadly mistakes are made. In fact, preventable medical errors are annually one of the leading causes of death in this country, killing 400,000 people every year. This shocking statistic is just one reason why it’s so important to hold medical professionals accountable for their negligence. When a healthcare provider negligently makes a mistake, and injury results, he or she may be guilty of medical malpractice and injured parties may be entitled to compensation.

Common Errors

    More than 1,000 people die every day from preventable medical errors, and an additional 10,000 suffer serious complications due to mistakes. There are countless different types of errors that add up to this alarming number, including:

  • Misreading diagnostic tools – If a medical professional misreads your x-ray, blood tests, or other diagnostic read out, you could be misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, or diagnosed and treated for a disease you don’t even have.
  • Treating the wrong patient – Hospitals are huge machines with staff that is constantly turning over throughout the day. Many patients get lost in the shuffle and are confused for a different patient, and then given the wrong medication.
  • Surgical Mistakes – When a surgeon or surgical team has not paid close attention or has been given the wrong information, surgical errors can result. This can include unnecessary surgery, surgery on the wrong body part, leaving surgical tools inside of the body, and more.
  • Wrong Dose – Because of hospital turnover rate of both staff and patients, combined with inadequate recordkeeping, many patients receive the wrong dose of medication. Under or over dosing a patient can be deadly.
  • Wrong Tubing – Medical tubing is used for a variety of reasons in a hospital setting, different tubes are used for feeding, administering intravenous fluids or medication, draining wounds, and other reasons. When the wrong tube is put in the wrong place, injury or death can result. There have been reports of patients dying when feeding tubes are connected intravenously, pumping liquid food directly into their veins.
  • Failure to sterilize – When medical tools or spaces are not adequately and routinely sterilized, infections can spread. Some hospital acquired infections are dubbed “super bugs”, as they don’t respond to antibiotics, and are often deadly.

Sadly, this list is far from exhaustive, and hundreds of other preventable errors occur every day in hospitals and doctor’s offices across the country. As a patient, it’s important to be your own advocate. Know your medical history, demand to see your medical records, ask every provider what they are doing and why, and make sure providers give you an adequate explanation. If you or a loved one has already been harmed by a preventable medical error, let a Chicago personal injury lawyer evaluate your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.