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The Legal Corner

Avoiding Medical Malpractice

The internet has helped patients and their family members become smarter, better informed, and more aggressive about holding their doctors accountable. Thus, when a medical error occurs, legal action by the patient or their loved ones may move to the forefront of their mind.

The most common error for medical malpractice reported by a Harvard Medical Malpractice study was:

  1. No communication or poor communication with primary care physician (PMD) immediately after an incident has occurred

  2. Medication administration error

  3. Improper use of equipment and products

  4. Inability to prevent infection

  5. Incorrect performance a nursing intervention or procedure

  6. Poor assessment of the patient

  7. Inability to provide a safe environment

  8. Not obtaining help for a patient receiving inadequate physician care

These areas of practice are the most at risk for nursing errors:

  • Emergency department

  • Operating room

  • Medical and surgical units

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities

  • Newborn nursery and pediatrics

  • Labor and delivery

The Hospital Safety Score reported in October 2013, that estimates up to 440,000 Americans are dying each year from preventable hospital errors. It was also reported that up to 3.7 percent of hospitalized patients are either injured or die from a medical mistake.

Medical-Legal Word To The Wise: Communication (with patient, family, and your piers) and attention to detail is paramount in medicine.

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