Consumer Reports Magazine August issue for 2012 released it’s new ratings for hospital safety. As noted in the article, roughly 180,000 deaths are at least partially caused by infections, surgical mistakes and other medical harm that occurs while the individuals are patients in hospitals. Another 1.4 million are seriously injured during their hospital care.
While there is never an excuse for operating on a wrong patient or body part, Consumer Reports lists an additional eight things that should never, or very rarely, happen while in a hospital. Patients should consider contacting a qualified and experienced medical malpractice attorney if they experience any of the following in connection with a hospital stay:
1. Bedsores. These occur when a patient is left in one position too long and can be prevented by frequent repositioning and special pads and mattresses.
2. Collapsed lungs. Lungs can be punctured if a doctor is not using ultrasound as guidance when inserting a catheter or needle into the chest.
3. Central venous catheter-related bloodstream infections. Infections occur when these tubes are not kept clean or when they are not removed as soon as they are no longer necessary.
4. Postoperative hip fractures. These can occur when patients fall when they are unassisted and try to get out of bed too soon after surgeries or when they are groggy from medication.
5. Blood clots after surgery. Some surgeries come with a known risk of post-surgical blood clots. These can be prevented by blood thinners, special stockings and moving and walking soon after surgery
6. Postoperative sepsis. This occurs when a serious infection overwhelms the body, leading to failure of the kidneys, liver, lungs, and other organs. Much has been written in this blog about the importance of hospitals to follow infection-prevention guidelines
7. Opening of a wound after surgery. This often can lead to infection. Ask how to care for your surgical wound, how long it should take to heal, and what to do if it doesn’t.
8. Accidental punctures or cuts. Inexperienced or improperly skilled surgeons can accidentally puncture or cut an organ or blood vessel. Finding an experienced, skilled surgeon can reduce the risk
If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured while being treated in a hospital, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Padberg, Corrigan & Applebaum for a free consultation.