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Truth About Wisconsin Medical Errors: Patient Safety Awareness Week

Today is the first day of Patient Safety Awareness Week. This year, the theme for Patient Safety Awareness Week is “Navigate Your Health…Safely.”

When you go to the hospital, you expect to get well. But sometimes patients get sicker; some even die. According to a 2011 study, about one in every three hospital patients suffers an adverse event: a hospital mistake, an injury, or a hospital-acquired infection.

Our injury attorneys have prepared a list of common medical errors and complications that affect Milwaukee hospital patients. We believe that knowing the risks will help you to protect your health.

  • Medication Errors: Medication errors are very common and affect about 1.5 million Americans each year. Medication errors include cases where a patient receives the wrong medication, cases where the patient receives the wrong dose of the right medication, and cases where a medication is administered incorrectly.
  • Health Care-Acquired Infections: Health care-acquired infections are becoming increasingly common. In the United States, 1 out of 20 hospitalized patients contracts a health care-acquired infection. These infections include catheter-related bloodstream infections, hospital-acquired pneumonia, and surgical site infections. These infections are often drug resistant and very difficult to treat.
  • Diagnostic Errors: Sometimes a patient is diagnosed with the wrong medical condition. This is very dangerous for two reasons. First, the patient’s condition may worsen because he is not receiving the care he needs. And, the unneeded care he is receiving can cause adverse side effects.
  • Slip and Falls: Falls are a common cause of hospital injury. Both medications and illness increase a patient’s chance of falling. More than 500,000 falls happen each year in U.S. hospitals, leading to 150,000 serious injuries.
  • Readmissions: A readmission occurs when a patient returns to the hospital for treatment less than 30 days after discharge. Readmissions often occur when a patient is discharged too early or discharged without a follow-up care plan.
  • Wrong-Site Surgery: Wrong-site surgery refers to an operation that is performed on wrong part of the body or on the wrong patient. It may also mean that the right patient got the wrong surgery.

Being aware of potential mistakes can help you protect your health. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions, especially if something seems wrong. Doctors, like all of us, can make mistakes. You may end up saving your own life.

Share this post on Facebook and help Hupy and Abraham raise awareness of medical errors during Patient Safety Awareness Week.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham
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