We expect to leave the hospital in better health than when we entered–and most of the time, we do. However, horrific medical mistakes occur in hospitals more frequently than most people realize. Patients who experience these errors often suffer substantial physical, financial, and emotional injuries, and even death.
Here are four nightmarish hospital errors and what goes wrong.
- Amputating the wrong limb
It seems hard to believe a surgeon could make such a mistake, but wrong limb amputation does happen. This nightmare occurs when the hospital fails to take sufficient precautions, such as clearly marking the operation site, developing and adhering to a strict amputation verification protocol, or involving the patient in the process. Wrong limb amputation is known as a “never” event because it is something that should never, ever happen. If you’re expecting an amputation, discuss the verification protocols with your doctor.
- Operating on the wrong patient
Another devastating “never” event is when a surgeon operates on the wrong patient. In recent years, surgeons have removed a kidney from the wrong patient, mistakenly initiated invasive brain surgery, and more. Again, such errors represent an inexcusable failure in protocol. Hospital teams must have procedures in place to verify that they are performing the right surgery on the patient at multiple stages in the process.
- Operating on the wrong surgical site
Similar to wrong limb amputation, medical professionals sometimes conduct surgery on the wrong part of the body. In 2015, for example, a woman sued a Yale-New Haven Medical Center after the doctor removed the wrong rib, requiring her to undergo a second operation. In another recent case, a surgeon removed a patient’s healthy kidney by mistake after he initiated the surgery without reviewing the patient’s medical records.
- Medication Mix-Ups
When the hospital staff gives the wrong medication or wrong dosage of the right drug to a patient, there can be disastrous consequences. Unfortunately, medication mix-ups are one of the most common hospital errors. Patients receiving the wrong medication might remain in pain unnecessarily, suffer side effects, or even die because they haven’t received the medicine they needed. Once again, there are numerous steps a hospital can take to ensure that patients receive the proper medication or the correct dosage. For example, they can have a policy of ensuring that the nurse reads back the prescription to the prescribing physician, doctors must always place a zero before the decimal point, or give a name alert to certain similar-sounding drugs.
If you have faced any errors from a doctor or in a hospital contact Lowenthal and Abrams to help you. Our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers and attorneys can help get you or loved ones the justice you deserve. Find out what qualifies as medical malpractice and the most common types of malpractice. Reach out today for a free consultation.