Any malpractice lawyer in Tennessee knows that mistakes are made in hospitals that can result in serious health consequences for patients. As recent evidence shows, estimates regarding the deaths caused by medical mistakes have been revised upward, which means that patients need to be more cautious than ever when seeking care at hospitals.
Fox News has discussed some of the secrets that your hospital may be keeping that can affect the outcome of the healthcare you receive. By learning the things that hospitals don’t tell you, you can reduce the risk of becoming the victim of a medical error.
Secrets Your Hospital Keeps
Some of the things your hospital may be keeping from you include:
- Medication errors: Patients can be given the wrong meds or the wrong dose. A Johns Hopkins University survey has indicated that hospitals hide these medication mistakes from patients 98 percent of the time. To protect yourself, have your doctor list the drugs you are taking and check your meds and dosage.
- Medical records are being shared: Your charts are shared among a huge number of people after a hospital visit, including insurers, care providers and billing companies, making it easier for your info to fall into the wrong hands. To protect yourself, review the hospital’s disclosure requirements.
- The amount of training your doctor has: There’s no way for most patients to distinguish between medical students and doctors in charge. To protect yourself, be sure you check the employee’s ID badge so you know who is providing your care.
- Call buttons don’t always bring help. A 2012 study from University of Michigan at Flint indicated that patients in four hospitals were waiting up to 18 minutes for a response to a call light. To protect yourself, find out when nurses change shifts and when meal times start and avoid non-urgent requests during these busy periods.
- There usually aren’t enough nurses: The New England Journal of Medicine found that patients on understaffed floors are two percent more likely to die when in a hospital. To protect yourself, choose a “magnet hospital” that is ranked highly by nurses.
- Hospital meals aren’t very good for you. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has indicated that patient menus often feature unhealthy foods like burgers and wings that can be just as bad as fast food. To protect yourself, look for healthier food offerings and speak to a hospital dietician about the food you’re eating.
- Emergency room waits are getting worse. From 1999 to 2009, the number of visits to ERs rose by one-third while roughly three percent of hospitals closed during this same period. This has resulted in waits that are 25 percent longer on average, and these waits have been linked to higher rates of death. To protect yourself, be sure to share your serious symptoms with hospital admissions so your emergency is prioritized.
- Your doctor’s hands might be dirty. The CDC says that one patient out of every 20 develops an infection because of poor hospital hygiene. To protect yourself, request that your doctor wash his hands or use hand sanitizer.
By keeping these things in mind, hopefully you can stay safer on your next hospital visit.
A malpractice lawyer in Tennessee can help if you were the victim of a hospital mistake. Contact Meade Injury Law Group today at (423) 464-7779for a free case consultation.