Protect Your Health and Life From Medical Mistakes
February 20, 2007
USA Today recently profiled a young Chicago woman who has experienced many preventable medical mistakes first-hand during hospital stays.
Due to a rare, congenital heart condition, this patient makes a trip to the hospital, unfortunately, at least once a month. Because of her experiences at these error-filled visits -- often involving improper testing or being given the wrong medication -- she wears a medical alert bracelet and takes a "resume" (describing her medical history and allergies) with her.
Approximately 34 percent of people say that either they or their families have experienced a medical error. The number rises to 50 percent for those with chronic illnesses, and hospitalized patients experience, on average, at least one medication error a day.Between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical errors. And while nearly 2 million U.S. patients catch an infection from the hospital each year, and about 90,000 die, only 35 percent of hospital employees wash their hands before touching a patient.