For many Washington residents who are seeking medical care, the risks of their health care provider making a critical error is not the first thing that crosses their mind. However, medical mistakes are becoming increasingly common and are far more serious than many people realize. Seemingly minute missteps can have a profound effect on a person’s quality of life and in serious incidents they can be fatal.
According to CNN, there are a plethora of surprising medical errors that patients should be aware of. These include the following:
- Poor sanitation: While many people would like to believe that their doctor has thoroughly washed his hands and all tools before commencing treatment, this is not always the case. Failing to maintain proper sanitation standards can quickly spread dangerous infections.
- Anesthesia oversights: When anesthesia is given, dosages range depending on the person’s size, age, health condition and the type of treatment they are receiving. If a doctor prescribes too little of a dose, a patient could end up waking during surgery.
- Mistaking patients: Because doctors treat so many people each day, it is not unheard of for them to get their patients mixed up. If this mistake occurs, a doctor could end up treating incorrect symptoms, giving the wrong medication or even performing surgery on the wrong body part.
- Forgetting tools: During surgery of any type, a range of tools are used to correctly perform the procedure. In cases of direct oversight and forgetfulness, a doctor could end up leaving surgical tools inside of a patient’s body. This mistake can have deadly side effects if not recognized and treated right away.
Healthcare IT News reports that death by medical error is now the third ranking cause of death in the United States. This means approximately 400,000 people are victims of medical mistakes every year.