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Common mistakes hospitals make with patient care

When you go into the hospital for treatment or an operation, you want to be sure that the doctors and nurses are correctly assessing your condition, accurately diagnosing you and providing proper treatment. But many hospital patients would be truly alarmed if they realized the extent of the mistakes that medical care providers make every year.

In a single calendar year in this decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), there were roughly 722,000 outbreaks of MRSA, Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and other healthcare-acquired infections. Approximately 75,000 patients died as a result of the infections they acquired as in-patients in hospitals and other care facilities.

Below are some other common mistakes that can worsen patients' health or even kill them.

Blood clots

Post-surgery patients frequently suffer from deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the condition responsible for blood clots. If the clot is large and travels from the major veins in the legs up to the lungs, they can cause a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.

Doctors can thwart DVT by using compression stockings on patients and providing them with a machine that stimulates their leg muscles while they lie abed. The judicious usage of anticoagulants like heparin can also reduce the risk of clots but also carries its own risks, however.

Medication errors

Patients are at risk of receiving the wrong dosage of prescribed medication or even the wrong medication entirely. It's always good to verify each dose before swallowing it, especially if your pills look different from those that you normally take.

During transitions of care, e.g., upon admission, at shift change with different nurses, during room changes, it's especially important to make sure that you receive the right dosage of your correct medicine.

Wrong-site surgeries

Like other so-called "never events," these disastrous mistakes still occur far too often. Patients can often proactively deter this serious error by taking a Sharpie and writing on their body, "Do Not Cut! Wrong Side" or something similar.

If you suffered harm from a medical mistake made by a nurse, doctor, pharmacist or other medical professional during your hospital stay, you may need to file a claim for damages in order to get financial compensation for your losses, injuries and other damages.

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