Medical errors are becoming increasingly common – and they do not seem to be stopping any time soon. While there have been numerous studies citing the potential causes, all of these studies fail to help the industry lessen the number of fatal errors that occur. A recent report in the British Medical Journal estimated that 250,000 Americans die each year due to these types of errors. This report alone created a firestorm in the United States medical sector, and some skeptics tried to prove them wrong. Other estimates state that the number of deaths hover around 100,000 – but regardless, that is still too many.
What is Causing the Medical Errors?
There are a few reasons why these medical errors keep occurring – and do not seem to be going anywhere. Some include:
The physician fails to review the patient’s chart. This is a common reason why medical errors occur. Despite most doctors’ offices moving to electronic health records, it seems that physicians do not take the time to review their own patients’ charts. When they fail to review medical history or even a current list of medications, critical errors can occur. Physicians can prescribe medications that the patient is allergic to, or even create a dangerous drug interaction. Sometimes, the physicians miss an easy diagnosis because they ignore the patient’s medical history.
The patient fails to communicate with the physician. A physician may not be able to access all of a patient’s medical history, which is why it is important that patients communicate with their treating physician. Patients need to inform their physician of recent treatments with other physicians, hospital visits or admissions, or even over-the-counter medications that they could be taking that could interact with new prescriptions.
Tests are not being performed when they should. Some physicians are just too busy to give their patients the time deserved. They will ignore symptoms and just prescribe and treat rather than test and diagnose. This often leads to critical tests never being performed – and delayed or missed diagnosis incidents that can lead to death or serious injury for the patient.
Physicians are taking more patients than they can handle. Today, physicians have to remain competitive. To do that, they often double book 15-minute to 30-minute slots – leaving little time to actually speak with or examine a patient. Because of this overbooking, a lot of things go ignored or skipped due to shortened time.
Staff is inadequately trained. Physicians rely on nurses and medical assistants, but these individuals are not always as well-trained as they should be. When physicians rely on them too much – especially in terms of diagnostics – critical errors can occur.
Are You the Victim of a Medical Error?
If you have been seriously injured because of a medical error, you may be entitled to compensation. To explore your options, you will need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney right away. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC to see how we can help. We have experience with defective drugs, dangerous drug interactions, medical malpractice, and more. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Contact us online to get started.