People go to the hospital when they are in need of serious medical care. They expect the hospital to be a safe and secure place for treatment.
Every Kentucky hospital has the responsibility of ensuring that the physicians, nurses, and any other employees perform their jobs without causing harm. It is the hospital’s duty to hold its staff accountable for their actions and to remove any staff member found to be performing his duties below an acceptable level.
Unfortunately, hospitals can be more dangerous than expected. There are many preventable mistakes occurring in Kentucky hospitals that put the lives of those seeking medical care at risk. In 2013, the Journal of Patient Safety published an article that found that 210,000 to 400,000 deaths occur in the United States every year due to preventable harm in hospitals.
Here are some of the key reasons why these deaths—and other patient injuries—occur:
Understaffing and Failure to Monitor
Understaffing of hospitals is a major problem in the United States. This understaffing can lead to patient injury or death. One of the most serious issues associated with understaffing 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 patients are in a delicate state and their recoveries are dependent on the thoroughness of their care during this critical time. Accordingly, if the hospital does not employ enough qualified medical professionals to reasonably monitor patients and respond to patient needs, then a tragedy may occur.
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 to the right patient 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, the potential for a medication mistake is compounded by the sheer number of patients and their high turnover rate. It can be difficult for a medical professional who has too many patients, who is tired, who is distracted, or who is otherwise negligent to make sure that each patient gets the right medication at the right time.
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 injury 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 errors can have serious consequences.
A hospital patient may see many doctors over the course of a day, each of whom receives information from the staff working the previous shift. Shift work can lead to misdiagnosis, a medication error, or another mistake if the patient’s case is not fully explained or if tests ordered by one doctor are not completed by the doctor on the next shift. The results of this failed communication can be devastating to the patient and the patient’s family.
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.
Even though their mobility is compromised, patients may attempt to walk from their bed to the bathroom or another location if they cannot summon a staff member when one is needed. This walk can be dangerous and can result in a tragic fall. These falls can add to a patient’s time in the hospital, may drastically increase the cost of their stay, and can even result in death. The vast majority of hospital falls may be prevented by more diligent care.
Injuries Caused by Hospital Negligence
Just as there are many potential causes of hospital negligence, there are also many potential injuries that can result. The specific injury that you, or a loved one, suffer may include:
- Broken bones.
- The progression of the disease or ailment.
- Brain damage.
- Damage to the heart or other organs.
- An allergic reaction.
If you suffered any of these injuries—or any other physical harm—from hospital negligence, then it is important to know about your rights and it is important to act today to protect your fair and just recovery.
You have the right to fight for your fair recovery of past, current, and future:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost income.
- Out-of-pocket costs.
- Pain and suffering.
- And any other damages that you suffered.
Our Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help
Many hospitals will do everything they can to cover up their errors, fearing legal retribution from the victims’ families. However, our experienced lawyers have helped injured patients and their families get fair recoveries from hospitals throughout Kentucky. We conduct thorough investigations, with the help of our on-staff nurse, and we use our more than 70 years of combined legal experience to help families make informed decisions and fight for their rights.
If you suspect that you or a loved one is a victim of hospital negligence, please contact Gray and White Law for a FREE CONSULTATION today by starting a live chat with us or calling us directly at 888-450-4456.