Hospitalization is often necessary to treat serious illnesses, but patients in South Carolina and throughout the country need to take a few steps to insure the safest stay possible. There have been an estimated 1.5 million medication errors every year, according to a recent study by the National Patient Safety Foundation, and over 1,000 other serious mistakes that have caused unnecessary deaths or worsening of illness. Notable cases included a man who lost his leg when a post surgical drain was left in too long and newborns who have died of Heparin overdoses.Unless a patient is facing an emergency, he or she should take the time to investigate the hospital and other providers that will be in charge of their care. Many people do not do this, but it can be as simple as looking up the prospective hospital and physician online and verifying all their licensing. Many resources can be found at the Agency for Health Research and Quality. Institutional and physician safety records are more available now than they ever have been, and patients may want to take advantage of this information.
A startling statistic has been peppering recent media coverage related to healthcare. Every week, medical errors kill enough American patients to fill four jumbo-sized jets. Yet when planes crash, these incidents make headlines. The vast majority of fatal medical errors resulting from hospital negligence and other preventable causes pass by unnoticed by all but the victims' loved ones.