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Common medical errors lead to deaths, injuries of Californians

Medical treatment undoubtedly saves patients' lives. Unfortunately, the inverse is also true, as medical care by negligent healthcare providers also kills many Californians every year. Frighteningly, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death nationwide. There are many ways that medical errors can be prevented, that may ultimately reduce the number of individuals who suffer from worsened conditions and other long-term impacts following medical care.

Infections contracted in a medical facility are a leading cause of patients' worsened conditions after seeking medical care. Approximately 100,000 people die every year from infections they have acquired in a healthcare setting, and many more are affected by infections. There are simple ways that healthcare providers can help reduce patient infection, such as by thorough and consistent handwashing, as well as disinfecting and sterilizing all necessary medical equipment.

Another simple way to reduce medical errors is through effective communication among medical providers. Though communication is often well-organized in operating rooms, in other treatment arenas, communication may be less consistent, particularly when medical staff change shifts. The miscommunication that occurs during care transitions leads to a significant occurrence of unnecessary patient death and injuries.

Diagnostic errors also account for a tremendous number of medical errors. Most diagnostic errors occur in doctors' offices, not hospitals. A diagnosis is a crucial step in determining a patient's course of treatment so it is essential that a patient receives a correct diagnosis.

If you have been the victim of medical negligence in California, whether due to an infection received in a medical facility, medical professionals' miscommunication, wrong diagnosis or other cause, you may have a legal cause of action. An attorney may be able to advise you regarding your legal rights.

Source: Huffington Post, "Medical Errors Should Not Be Our 3rd Leading Cause of Death," Allen Frances, accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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