A new poll, organized by the Heartland Health Research Institute of Clive, Iowa, confirms that nearly one in five Iowans claim to have personally experienced medical errors including surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis, or incorrect medications.
Hospitals were voted as the most frequent site for medical errors (about 59 percent), while 30 percent of errors occurred in the doctor’s office or clinic, four percent in nursing homes, and seven percent at other locations. Of the one in five Iowa adults who experienced medical errors, 60 percent of patients were not informed by medical staff members.
Other survey findings:
- Sixty percent of those who experienced medical errors said the mistakes caused serious health consequences. Ninety percent believed the errors were preventable.
- Ninety-five percent of Iowa adults think hospitals should be required to report all medical errors to a state agency. Ninety-eight percent think all health care providers should tell patients when errors occur. Fifty-seven percent believe their personal doctors would do so.
Ingrid Gerling, an Iowan whose infant daughter Nyasia, was permanently injured in 2012 by a medical error when medical professionals tried to pull her out of the birth canal ignoring clear signs that the birth should have been done by cesarean section. Nyasia had nerves in her right arm torn away from her spine, leaving her right arm and hand unusable. Brian Galligan of Des Moines represented the Gerlings with confidence that medical malpractice had occurred. The jury awarded the Gerlings $5.5 million.
Preventing medical errors
The Heartland Health Research Institute and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have provided tips for patients who hope to prevent a medical error by one of their care providers.
- Bring all of your medications, or a list of them, into the office when you see your doctor. Include supplements and vitamins.
- Make sure you can read any prescription written by your doctor, including the spelling and dosage. Ensure you understand what the medication is for, how to take it, and what the side effects are.
- If you need a surgery or procedure, try to pick a hospital where many other patients have had the same work done. If you are unsure about the diagnosis or planned procedure, ask for an opinion from a second doctor.
- To check on hospital quality, go to a ratings website.
- Have a relative or friend come with you to appointments or procedures. Make sure medical providers have all of your health information.
- If a test or treatment is being administered, find out why it is needed and how it can help you.
How to Respond to Medical Errors
Injuries from medical errors typically lead to longer recovery periods. In extreme cases, medical error injuries can lead to disability, extended recovery periods, and even wrongful death. If you or a loved one was hurt due to a medical error or even medical malpractice you should contact a personal injury lawyer.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys focus on obtaining compensation for those who have been injured or left grieving caused by the negligence of others. If you or a loved one has been injured by a medical professional’s negligence, contact Galligan Law today at 800-217-9312.