Every year in the US, around 400,000 patients experience harm while they are in hospital because of preventable errors. While many errors can be quickly corrected without causing long-term damage, common occurrences of medical malpractice may have a lasting impact on a patient’s health. Cases of birth injuries or harm caused by wrong-site surgery can lead to permanent physical disabilities and lasting psychological damage. While the prevention of these situations must always be a priority, the devastating effects of medical negligence can be alleviated with greater transparency, acknowledgement of wrongdoing and financial compensation where appropriate.
Coping with Lifelong Birth Injuries
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, around a third of birth injuries could be prevented. The failure to properly monitor the baby or provide oxygen when necessary are common reasons for injury and can lead to long-term conditions such as seizures, behavioral issues or cerebral palsy. Birth injuries are often attributed to a breakdown of communication amongst the various healthcare providers and many could be prevented through better training and teamwork. When medical malpractice has occurred, transparent communication between the hospital and the patient’s family is also important. Where this is lacking, lawyers and medical experts at JJS have experience in uncovering the facts of a case. This can help to establish liability and lead to a settlement to cover long-term losses and lifelong medical expenses.
Preventing Wrong-Site Surgery
While estimated rates vary greatly, there could be as many as 34,000 wrong site surgeries performed each year in the US. Most of these cases are because the surgeon has operated on the wrong side of the body, but they can also involve procedures performed on the wrong body part or even the wrong patient. These mistakes are known as never events as they are errors that should not have occurred under any circumstances, and they can be devastating for patients. Strict hospital protocols such as verification procedures at every stage of care and clearly marking the site to be operated should always be followed to prevent these errors from occurring.
Alleviating the Psychological Effects of Medical Malpractice
As well as enduring unnecessary injury and disability, over 70% of patients who experience harm at the hands of a medical practitioner report long-term psychological and emotional damage. This can be due to chronic physical pain, distressing flashbacks to the cause of their injury and even financial worries due to loss of wages and ongoing medical bills. To alleviate some of the long-term effects of medical negligence such as anxiety and depression, Communication and Resolution Programs have been found to be helpful. In talking through their experience with hospital representatives, patients are reassured by an open acknowledgement of the error and plans to avoid others being involved in a similar situation.
Medical negligence can be devastating for patients, leading to lifelong injuries and disabilities. With professional help, patients are able to determine the facts of their case and achieve a more positive outcome to help them deal with any long-term issues.