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Medical errors commonplace throughout health system

Even routine interactions with healthcare settings in Iowa present risks to patients, such as infections and misdiagnosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 750,000 people in the United States pick up an infection when receiving medical care, and about 10 percent of them die as a result.

Other hazards experienced by patients include surgical errors, falls in the hospital, treatments intended for other people and medication mistakes. In outpatient settings, diagnostic errors affect over 12 million people every year. Half of those mistakes have the potential to cause harm.

To inform and empower people, the National Patient Safety Foundation has developed recommendations for patients. Whether undergoing treatment or visiting a patient, people should wash their hands frequently to halt the spread of germs. Everyone should feel justified in reminding healthcare workers to wash their hands, too. To improve communications, each patient should ask questions about risks and the reasons for a treatment. Bringing a trusted friend or relative to a medical setting is also an important way to oversee caregiving and reduce errors.

Medical errors range from issues that cause inconveniences to fatalities, and someone hurt by mistakes like wrong-site surgery, misdiagnosis or anesthesia errors might have recourse through a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney who represents medical cases could arrange for independent experts to review medical records and provide testimony for a lawsuit. Along with filing court papers, an attorney could open negotiations for a settlement with the healthcare provider and insurer. During these negotiations, an attorney could strive to protect the victim's rights and gain an adequate settlement. If necessary, the attorney could present the case at trial in the pursuit of compensation for pain and suffering, lost income and medical expenses.

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Hixson & Brown, P.C.
160 South 68th Street
Suite 1108
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Toll Free: 800-229-9854
Phone: 515-650-4531
Fax: 515-440-6395
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