A recent article in the AARP Bulletin, summarized what many of us have known for a long time. Hospitals are not safe, especially when you are sick! While we know about the world class care that certain hospitals advertise you will receive, what we don’t hear about enough is how the healthcare system is broken. As patient safety advocates, the Cleveland Medical Malpractice attorneys and nurses at Mishkind Kulwicki Law hear on a daily basis from patients and families about preventable medical mistakes. The Institute of Medicine in 1999 reported in To Err is Human, that each year 100,000 Americans die in hospitals from medical mistakes. Today, there is little evidence to suggest that the healthcare system has improved or that the risk of serious injury or death has decreased when you become a patient in a hospital. The statistics are alarming. A study of Medicare patients found that 1 in 7 patients were harmed by their hospital care. The number of patients that die from preventable medical mistakes is equal to four jumbo jets crashing each week. If that were to occur, would we tolerate such a loss of life? Yet many medical mistakes go unreported and, thus, patients die without any real accountability.
While hospitals and doctors do not intend to cause harm to patients, the attention to safety measures used to keep Americans safe on airplanes has not been followed when it comes to hospital care. Safety and quality of care varies in hospitals and the data that we need to know whether we are safe is frequently hidden from us. When preventable mistakes occur in a hospital, the patient is the very last person to be advised of the mistake and often is told that the complication was not preventable.
It is critical that you know your rights and arm yourself to receive safe medical care. The days of assuming that the healthcare team has done everything possible to keep you safe and hasn’t cut corners and has provided you with the best care available are gone. If you don’t ask questions and protect yourself, you could be the next victim. We have a number of patient resources that we encourage you to read on our website at Mishkind Kulwicki Law. At Mishkind Kulwicki Law, we want all Americans to be safe, but until that day comes when the number of people that die needlessly in hospitals has been eliminated, we will do everything possible to uncover the truth behind preventable medical errors and hold those responsible, accountable for the injuries and deaths that occur.