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Finding Out When Things Go Wrong


Sadly, adverse events continue to be all too common in medicine. The U.S. Office of the Inspector General estimates that “13.5 percent of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse events during their hospital stays.” In 2014, one news source noted that “Preventable medical errors persist as the No. 3 killer in the U.S. – third only to heart disease and cancer – claiming the lives of some 400,000 people each year.” Typical medical errors involved being prescribed the wrong, drug/dose, surgery on the wrong body part, etc. This is why you should be extra careful whenever you receive any kind of medical care to insure it is the proper care.

Almost as sad is the inability of hospitals and medical staff to appropriately inform patients when these adverse events (AE) take place. A recent study found that only 27.9% of medical staff and 35.9% of medical professionals “considered that patients were correctly informed after an AE.”

If you think you have been the victim of an adverse medical event, preventable or otherwise, start asking questions and get the answers you deserve. Medical errors happen all the time with occurrence rate as high as one out of eight. The sooner you are informed, the better your chance to protect your health.

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