Ways for patients to stay safe in the hospital

For many Pittsburgh residents a hospital stay is unavoidable. Patients go into the hospital with the expectation that they will be cared for and their condition will improve. For many patients this is what happens, but there are also patients who wind up in a worsened condition from a doctor error.

Medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States. This can be an alarming statistic for many because of the trust that patients put in their doctors. Over 440,000 people die each year because of a hospital-related medical error. There are some things patients can do to lessen the risk that they will become a victim. First, patients who are informed about their medical condition and treatment plan have a better chance of staying safe. Patients should feel free to ask any questions. Writing down what happens during a hospital stay, including the doctors and nurses that have been providing care, can also be helpful, especially if something goes wrong.

Many errors occur during the weekend, so elective procedures should be scheduled at a different time. Hospital-acquired infections are especially serious so patients should make sure their medical providers are wearing gloves and washing their hands. When a patient is discharged they should make sure they understand all of the discharge instructions and paperwork.

If a family believes their loved one was unexpectedly injured while in the hospital, they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review the medical records and consult with medical experts to try and determine what happened and get the answers families deserve. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: WTOC.com, “How to stay safe in the hospital,” April 12, 2016