Common opinion is that technology and computerized equipment can minimize human error and increase the performance of medical professionals in hospitals around the globe. Yet, one study has found that even technological tools lead to medical errors, and they actually do so at a much higher rate than previously thought.
When clinicians fail to follow sanitary procedures, they may place the health of their patients at risk. Some cases of patient injury may alarm residents of South Carolina, but knowledge of these types of hospital neglect can help in the identification of cases of medical malpractice. According to a team leader at the CDC Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, cases of infectious disease spread through unsafe injection practices are not as uncommon as once thought.
Patients and physicians in South Carolina might take a lesson from a case involving misdiagnosis of death and an aborted organ removal. In 2009, a woman woke on the operating table in another state just prior to an organ donation. The woman had been diagnosed with irreversible brain damage and taken off life support with the consent of her family. They also provided consent for the organ harvest procedure. According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report later brought to light, the woman "did not have irreversible brain damage [and] did not meet criteria for withdrawal of care."
A study of gall bladder surgeries at a large hospital in a major U.S. city performed over an 8-month stretch identified 22 patients with a total of 35 complications. Eighteen of the 22 were undergoing emergency surgery. More than 90 percent of night-time procedures were emergencies. Surgeries after 7 p.m. and those on older male patients were linked to increased risk of complications.
Many South Carolina hospitals have now switched to digital records in an effort to improve patient care, but digitized medical records can also cause problems. While digital medical records are supposed to eliminate errors related to doctors' handwriting and make access to patient histories easier, faulty information and network problems can put patients at risk. Issues related to digital records are also increasing: The number of medical errors caused by digital records doubled between 2010 and 2011, according to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.