People go to the hospital when they are in need of serious medical care. One might wonder what could be safer or more secure than a hospital. Unfortunately, hospitals can be more dangerous than expected. In 2003, over 195,000 people died as a result of hospital negligence. There are many preventable mistakes occurring in Kentucky hospitals that put the lives of those seeking medical care at risk.
Understaffing & Failure to Monitor
Understaffing of hospitals is a major problem in the United States. This understaffing can lead to many problems. One of the most serious is the failure to monitor a patient. Monitoring devices are only as reliable as the people meant to watch and react to their alerts. If the staff does not closely monitor a patient, then a small problem may turn tragic. This can be especially true in the post-operative stage as the patient is in a delicate state and their recovery is dependent on the thoroughness of their care during this critical time. In addition to physically monitoring a patient, hospital staff must pay close attention to any medications needed. These medications must be monitored to ensure that the patient does not have a reaction to the medication, that the medication is given in the proper dosage, and that any new medications are suitable to use with prior medications.
The right medication, in proper doses, can be a lifesaver. However, when given improperly it can have devastating effects. In a hospital, this problem is compounded by the sheer number of patients and their high turnover rate. Prescription drug mistakes can happen in any patient/doctor relationship. However, in a hospital setting, the patient’s ambiguity increases their frequency. Over 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur in hospitals each year.
Medical Chart Mix-ups
A person’s medical chart contains vital information concerning his or her medical history. In the best case scenario, its proper use allows a doctor to assess a patient's needs and to take the action best suited to the individual. In the worst case scenario, a chart mix-up can result in debilitation or death. Chart mix-ups occur when either a chart of one patient is unintentionally switched with that of another, or when pages or portions of the record are misplaced or put into the wrong chart. In addition, doctors may make mistakes when entering information. Any of these mistakes can have serious consequences.
Falls in Hospitals
Many patients in a hospital setting have limited mobility. Others may be taking a medication that renders them unable to walk unassisted. In these cases, it is the responsibility of hospital staff to ensure that the patient makes it safely in and out of bed and to the restroom. Often, a patient is unable to summon a staff member when one is needed. A patient may, though their mobility is compromised, attempt to walk from their bed to another location. This walk can be dangerous as falls are one of the most common hospital accidents. These falls can add to a patient's time in the hospital and may drastically increase the cost of their stay. The vast majority of falls may be prevented by more diligent care.
The lack of a proper security system in a hospital setting can have catastrophic results. The high profile cases of infants being stolen from maternity wards and violence in emergency rooms speaks to the need for better security in hospitals. Many have weak security, which may allow people into the hospital that may put its occupants at risk. It is the duty of the hospital to have in place a security system that protects both its patients and its staff.
Our Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help
If you suspect that you or a loved one is a victim of hospital negligence or medical malpractice in Kentucky, please call Gray and White Law for a FREE CONSULTATION by calling 502-210-8942, 1-888-450-4456 (toll free), or email attorney Matt White directly at email@example.com.