At The Gogel Law Firm, our St. Louis medical malpractice attorneys know that Missouri has some of the most talented healthcare professionals in the nation. However, no one, no matter their education or experience, is infallible.
Unfortunately, the medical malpractice statistics throughout the U.S. support that being true.
A recent survey by the National Patient Safety Foundation and Healthcare Improvement revealed that 21% of American adults reported having suffered from a medical error.
According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors and negligence.
Unfortunately, some mistakes happen more frequently than others.
Here is how you can take a proactive approach to stay safe while seeking medical care.
Communicate Thoroughly with Your Physicians
While we all have been conditioned to listen to “doctor’s orders,” 10% of all U.S. deaths are now due to medical error. This may include ingesting the wrong prescription, wrong dosage, because of the wrong instructions, or lack of communication.
Talking to your doctor about any medication allergies you might have, how many medications you are taking — even if they are natural in makeup — or even how a prescribed medication makes you feel may help diffuse any potentially dangerous interactions or misuse.
Do not allow a physician to make you feel rushed before all your questions are answered. Getting the face time you need may help save your life.
Do All You Can to Avoid Healthcare-Associated Infections
Since hospitals and doctors’ offices are filled with people seeking medical care, it means the chances of getting an infection from other sources — including patients, physicians, or medical equipment — can be much higher than you think.
Approximately 1 in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That includes significant increases in Ventilator-Associated Events (35%), Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (24%), and MRSA (15%) over the last two years.
To help decrease your chances of infection, wear a mask to all doctor’s appointments, and avoid touching objects, tables, or equipment in the room. If you have a scheduled surgery, ask about the cleaning process, the equipment, and the tools that will be used during the procedure.
Take the Time to Talk Through Your Surgical Procedure
According to the National Library of Medicine, at least 4000 surgical errors occur each year in the United States.
Operating on an incorrect body part is a common source of surgical error. Before your surgery, be sure to speak with your doctor about the procedure you are going to have, why you must have it, and what will happen while you are under anesthesia.
Protect Mom and Baby from Birth Injuries
If you are pregnant, this momentous time in your and the baby’s life should be filled with joy and excitement. Unfortunately, birth injuries occur more often than anyone could imagine.
The Centers for Disease Control listed that there were over 3.7 million births in the U.S. last year, and that an estimated seven out of 1,000 resulted in injury, averaging 28,000 birth injuries each year.
Although not all birth injuries can be avoided, do as much research as possible on the facility where you will be having your baby. Check for incidences of birth injuries and, when available, read reviews and check the facility’s safety record.
We understand that even when patients apply their due diligence before seeking medical care, negligence could still be a factor anywhere, leading to significant injuries and fatalities.
If you or someone you love has been injured or lost their life while seeking medical care in Missouri, contact our St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer today to review your case by calling (314) 775-3864 or online to schedule a free consultation.