Philly.com recently ran a story on common hospital mistakes occurring in Pennsylvania. We’ve written up a short synopsis for you so that you may stay that much safer the next time you seek treatment in the hospital.
The Alarm Problem. When visiting a hospital, it can seem like some kind of alarm is always going off. And indeed this is true. Tons of devices in hospitals are equipped with alarms to grab a staff member’s attention for any number of reasons. Dialysis units, various monitors and ventilators, pumps, etc; they all have their own alarms. The problem is, so many alarms going off means a very serious alarm may go untended to.
Electronic Data Errors. There are so many ways for a patient’s information to be documented or retrieved, which, in most cases, is a good thing. It certainly makes it easier for doctors to access a patient’s records in a timely fashion. The down side is that when things go electronic, mistakes can happen. There may be glitches in the system. Or maybe the data was incorrectly inputted. For this reason, a patient at a hospital should look over his or her records, checking for any issues or oversights.
Air Bubbles. The intravenous tubes are used all the time in hospitals, and most of the time they are used safely. However, all it takes is one large air bubble to enter a patient’s vein through one of these tubes to turn his or her hospital stay into a fatal one. Most IV machines have detectors that catch air bubbles, but these aren’t perfect safeguards. A patient who sees an air bubble which is larger than one inch should report it to hospital staff.
Poor Re-Processing. As technology advances, surgical tools are becoming more prevalent and more complex. These very small devices must be carefully cleaned before and after each medical procedure. This is called re-processing. If a device is poorly re-processed it could cause infections in the next patient it is used on.
Doctor Distraction. It is becoming more of an issue with each passing year. Doctors are having a hard time staying off their phones — even during operations. Just like a distracted driver, a distracted doctor is not as focused as he or she could be. A patient who notices a doctor is looking at a cell phone more often than making eye contact should say something about it.
There are many ways in which medical malpractice can occur in a hospital, and the Carpey Law website has written on many of them. Take a look around our article archives and see what else you can learn about your medical care.