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John James lost his son almost 20 years ago after a series of medical mistakes at a Texas hospital resulted in a missed diagnosis of an abnormal heartbeat. Since retiring, he dedicated his time to promoting patient safety and founded Patient Safety America to educate people about the risks of harm in hospitals. Last year he completed an analysis of the number of people who die in hospitals, in part, due to medical error. His study has been published in Patient Safety, a peer reviewed medical journal. According to his estimates, 440,000 people die annually as a result of medical mistakes and errors, such as medication errors, poor hygiene/infection control, misdiagnosis, or the failure to provide correct treatment or diagnostic tests. This means over 1,000 people per day die in American hospitals as a result of medical malpractice. That is more than half of all hospital deaths annually. This also means medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in America behind only heart disease and cancer.
What can you do to stay safe during a hospital stay? Learn about patient advocacy. Visit Consumer Reports Safe Patient Project website for tips on staying safe as a patient. Watch the Safe Patient Project Video on advice from patient safety advocates on surviving your hospital stay. Check your hospital’s rating on the Consumer Union’s hospital ratings guide. Of course, visit John James’ Patient Safety America website for more resources.
Just a few common sense tips:
- Research your condition, the treatment or procedure you will be getting, and ask questions to be sure you are making the right choices for you;
- Know your options – ask about them, analyze them and make the treatment choice that is best for you;
- Have a family member of friend stay with you or visit often to help you communicate effectively and ask questions about medications and treatment you are getting and what your options are;
- When you are provided medication without explanation, stop, slow down, and ask what you are being given and why.
If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, call us for a free medical malpractice consultation. We will review your case for free. Don’t be left wondering if a medical mistake harmed or killed a loved one. You deserve to know the truth.