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Good doctors can make medical mistakes

Ohio patients may think that selecting a reputable medical professional will guard against serious errors and problems. However, even those who are highly-skilled and who are considered to be good doctors can make mistakes. There are many areas in which such errors can occur, and by being aware of these areas, patients can be more proactive in heading off trouble related to practitioner mistakes.

The leading cause of medical errors is misdiagnosis, according to a 2013 study. Some of the conditions that are most commonly at issue are pneumonia, congestive heart failure and cancer. The impact of a misdiagnosis can be significant if incorrect medication is administered. Allowing such a serious condition to go without treatment could lead to permanent injury or death, an issue that affects an estimated 160,000 patients in hospitals annually. A patient can work to assist with a proper diagnosis by clearly communicating relevant symptoms and times, asking about other possible conditions and understanding exactly what to expect from a prescribed treatment.

Additional areas in which errors occur include treating the wrong person due to name confusion, medication errors and poor hygiene. Wrong-site surgeries are minimized by important preoperative protocols, but they still occur in spite of precautions. Other surgical errors include leaving tools or materials in a patient. A lack of coordination in care can result in errors. Testing, long waits, and incorrect central tube removal can also jeopardize a patient's health.

If a patient's serious condition has been taken lightly by a medical professional and resulted in a permanent injury, it may be possible to seek compensation for the damages suffered by filing a medical malpractice claim. This may require careful evaluation of records to establish a timeline of medical appointments and practitioner actions, and it may also require the insight of a medical malpractice lawyer.

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