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Recommendations for reducing medical errors

People in Ohio may have heard that there is an increasing awareness of the high incidence of medical errors. One published study has found that as many as 250,000 people may die annually in the United States because of these errors. Few of those errors are as high profile as the case of comedian Joan Rivers whose family settled a malpractice suit with the New York clinic where she was treated and died.

Medical errors that do not result in death can still do harm to a patient. For example, the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and Medical Error Reduction did a study of cataract surgery errors in Massachusetts. It found errors such as administration of the wrong anesthesia or implantation of the wrong lens.

The study found a number of factors that contributed to these types of errors. They included a lack of safety nets and poorly coordinated care. The study also made several recommendations to help prevent these errors. One was making patient safety a top priority. Another was the development of a safety policy by staff and doctors. Standardized protocols and a consent process that engaged the patient were other recommendations.

An error due to medical malpractice can be devastating for a patient. It can lead to death or can significantly derail a patient's treatment. Errors might occur when the wrong diagnosis is made or the wrong medication is given among other scenarios, and the result can be life-changing. A patient who has been harmed as a result of such an error might want to speak to an attorney about filing a lawsuit against the providers and medical facility. An attorney can make a determination as to whether there was a failure to exhibit the required standard of care through a review of the patient's electronic health records and the opinions of medical experts.

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