Preventing surgical errors: Tips for Rhode Island patients

Although surgical errors do happen frequently, patients can take steps to protect their health and safety while staying at a hospital.

For patients in Rhode Island, experiencing undue harm due to a mistake made in surgery is a situation they want to avoid at all costs. However, surgical errors do happen, and they happen frequently According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-patient medical errors occur in approximately one out of every 112,000 operations. Fortunately, there are steps patients can take to protect themselves against such errors.

Surgical procedures

Those going into surgery should speak with their doctor and surgeon to agree on exactly what will happen in the operating room. Patients should also try and choose a hospital or care facility where the operation is performed frequently. Research shows that patients who receive care at a hospital where their condition is treated frequently have a better experience.

Patients should also take an active role in the care they receive by sharing their health information with any provider taking care of them, familiarizing themselves with the tests and procedures being performed and bringing a family member or friend with them to the hospital. Additionally, patients should always ask questions regarding they care they are receiving if they are unsure of what is occurring.

Staying at the hospital

After the operation is over, there are other steps patients can take to ensure their safety and prevent medical malpractice. For example, while staying at the hospital, parents should ask any healthcare provider who will touch them whether or not they have washed their hands. The simple action of handwashing can prevent the spread of infection in a hospital setting.

After discharge occurs, patients should have their doctor explain what the treatment plan they need to follow at home is like. This should involve knowing when to schedule follow-up appointments, understanding what medications should be taken and when and whether medications taken in the hospital should continue to be consumed. Taking these actions may prevent an emergency situation or another trip to the hospital.

Reach out to an attorney

Although patients in Rhode Island can take steps to prevent medical and surgical errors while staying at a hospital or during a surgical procedure, they cannot prevent mistakes made by their healthcare providers. In many cases, these errors can cause serious harm, including physical, emotional and financial injury. Patients who were harmed by a surgical error should contact an attorney in their area for assistance asserting their rights to fair and proper compensation.