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Hospital employees must prioritize patient safety

When you go to the hospital for medical care, you don't expect that the workers are going to do things to make your condition worse. While most medical professionals do their job duties properly, there are sometimes errors that lead to great patient harm. In these cases, patients might have intensive medical care and related impacts.

It isn't a patient's duty to ensure that employees do what they are supposed to do. It is acceptable for patients to speak up if they notice anything amiss, and this can help to keep them safe while they get care. No hospital employees should ever get upset when someone speaks up to help them avoid a costly error.

Many errors are preventable

Some issues, such as hospital-acquired infections, are preventable with proper precautions. These include basics like washing hands before and after patient contact. Around one of every 25 patients will have an infection that could have been prevented with proper staff hygiene. Many of these are treatable and won't lead to a fatality.

Surgical errors are largely preventable. These include things like surgical instruments and items left in the patient. The risk of this "never event" is so great that all hospitals and surgical centers must have protocol in place to prevent them. Post-surgical infections are also possible, so proper monitoring is a must.

Other problems might also occur, including birth injuries, misdiagnosis and improper supervision of patients with a fall risk. As many as 440,000 people die due to issues in the hospital, and this is unacceptable.

Report errors right away

Some patients don't want to be a bother so they don't report errors when they occur. If you notice anything amiss during your stay or while you are visiting a loved one, speak up right away. There should always be an administrator or supervisor on call who can take complaints. Even your own nurse might be a good person to speak with if that wasn't the person who made the error.

Make sure that you are respectful when you speak to them. You should let them know that you want to hear back about what happened. The patient care advocate is another important person to report issues to because this will establish a paper trail for the problem. You can ask for a written follow up.

If you do suffer harm due to the negligence of a hospital employee, you might opt to pursue a legal claim. Medical malpractice lawsuits seek to the hold the liable parties accountable for their role in the injuries that led to damages.

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