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How patients can help to prevent hospital errors

Hospital patients in Ohio face many risks during the course of their hospital stays that have nothing to do with their underlying conditions. Every year, about 722,000 people contract some type of infection while in U.S. hospitals, and slightly more than 10 percent of them die from their infections. Other risks encountered during a hospital stay include falls, medication errors and discharge mistakes.

Mistakes at U.S. hospitals result in an estimated 440,000 deaths each year, a figure that makes hospital errors the third-leading cause of death in the country. People who are being admitted to the hospital may want to be aware of the risks so that they can be prepared to take preventative measures. One of the ways patients can guard against hospital errors is to always have another person with them to ask questions, check prescriptions and prevent falls.

While hospital-acquired infections are a serious problem, so is the overuse of antibiotics. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that half of all antibiotic prescriptions for hospital patients are either unnecessary or the wrong kind of antibiotics. Patients should check every prescription they receive in the hospital and ask questions about antibiotics. If antibiotics are prescribed before doctors have done a rapid culture to identify the patient's infection, there's a good chance they aren't the antibiotics that the patient needs.

A hospital stay can sometimes be a chaotic experience that leaves patients confused about what happened during their care. If an infection was acquired during a person's hospital stay and it resulted in harm, a medical malpractice attorney might suggest filing a lawsuit based on hospital negligence.

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