Every year, countless people in Providence County and throughout the rest of the U.S. suffer from mistakes made by doctors, surgeons, and other health care providers. While it should be remembered that health care providers are only human, many of these errors are the result of simple inaction or negligence. A report released by the Office of the Inspector General in 2010 showed that of the adverse events included in their study, 44 percent were preventable.
Advances in medical science in recent years have made it possible for patients in Providence to receive higher levels of health care than ever before. Yet despite this potential for quality care, every year there are countless malpractice claims filed by patients who believed that they have suffered due to the negligence of their doctors. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, nearly $3.6 billion was paid out in settlement of over 12,100 malpractice claims in 2012. These numbers seem staggering, particularly given the fact that at the same time, overall patient satisfaction with health care has gone up. A review of which medical practice areas see the most malpractice claims may shed some light on reason behind these high numbers.
It may seem to people in Providence as though cases regarding medical malpractice seem to dominate today’s headlines. This may lead to a loss of faith in the healthcare system as a whole. This presents an a potentially complicated dilemma: you’re of course encouraged to seek medical attention for those injuries and ailments that can’t heal without intervention, yet concerns over the quality of that care or the potential for further problems may cause you even greater stress. One way to help resolve such a dilemma is by having a primary care physician.
When hearing about medical malpractice cases, Providence residents probably notice the term “standard of care” being thrown around quite a bit. The standard of care represents universally-accepted protocols in place that have been proven to help doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers to accurately diagnose and treat their patients. These standards have typically been reaffirmed through clinical trials, and providers are expected to adhere to those which apply to their areas of practice. A failure to do so can open a provider up to accusations of negligence.
The doctors who practice in Providence bring both a unique blend of education and experience to each case that they see. Patients hope that knowledge serves those doctors well in diagnosing the various maladies that they’re suffering from. While doctors aren’t immune to error, the standard of care is that they will make the best decisions regarding their patients’ care based upon the clinical evidence before them. If obvious signs of trouble in a patient are missed or overlooked, the question then becomes why the doctor failed to recognize it. Often, such failures lead to accusations of negligence.
Many in Providence were probably told while growing up that “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” One hopes that advice has never been given in reference to healthcare, as patients rely upon a doctor’s initial diagnosis to accurately pinpoint what’s wrong with them, how they might fix such an injury or ailment, and what to expect during their recovery. Yet despite advances in medical science, there still is no iron-clad guarantee of accuracy on a patient’s first visit.
Doctors are trusted to always be at the top of their games when plying their craft. Yet they're still human, and errors in their judgment or in their execution of a procedure are bound to happen. It's estimated that close 440,000 patients die yearly from medical errors, be they something as simple as the wrong prescription being given to much more glaring problems such as operating on the wrong site or leaving a surgical tool inside of patient's body cavity.
Many are already aware that every year, doctor error contributes to the deaths of patients at Providence hospitals and clinics. Doctor’s, physician assistants, and nurses are human after all, and thus can be relied upon to make mistakes just as they are relied upon to use their skills in correctly diagnosing and treating their patients. Just how many people die in the U.S. every year is, however, a number that’s open for debate.
When people go to the visit the doctor in Providence, they’re placing a great deal of trust in him or her to be able to not only pinpoint the cause of their ailments, but also to prescribe what needs to be done to correct them. Often, prescription painkillers are needed to help patients cope with their suffering. The abuse of prescription drugs can be all-too common. As such, doctors are expected to maintain the highest level of integrity in their treatment so as to not give the patients any more in terms of medication than they need or even want. When patients are injured due to medication errors or an allergic reaction to a drug, focus is usually always centered on the doctor who prescribed it.
Healthcare professionals in Providence and all throughout the nation take an oath to practice medicine with integrity. They also vow to maintain professional and ethical standards at all times. Their focus is on healing and preventing injuries, so it usually comes as a great shock when medical personnel put their own interests above those of their patients.