The largest independent, non-profit, consumer-product-testing organization in the United States surveyed 1,200 recently hospitalized people and reported the results of the survey in the February 2015 edition of its monthly magazine. The eye-opening results include survey respondents reporting that 29% of them experienced a medical error during their hospitalization.
The Importance Of “Respect” In Reducing Medical Errors In Hospitals
Survey respondents who stated that they “rarely received” respect from hospital medical staff were two and a half times more likely to suffer a medical error, such as acquiring an infection while in the hospital, having a wrong diagnosis, or suffering an adverse drug reaction or prescribing mistake, than respondents who said they were treated well in the hospital. Complaints about lack of respect included medical staff failing to consistently treat them as adults (reported by about one-quarter of the survey respondents), medical staff interrupting patients (about one-third of respondents), patient requests about treatment not being followed (about one-third of respondents), and about one-in-five reporting that they were not always treated fairly or without discrimination.
The Importance Of Feeling Comfortable About Asking Questions
Survey respondents who reported that they felt “very uncomfortable” asking medical staff about their care or safety (such as reporting to a nurse their pain level, inquiring about medical procedures and test results, and asking about the side effects of drugs that they were prescribed) were 50% more likely to suffer at least one medical error than those who felt very comfortable about asking questions.
The Importance Of Being Human
Forty-percent of survey respondents stated that they did not feel that medical staff always took a personal interest in them. The ever-increasing use of technology at the patients’ bedside, such as medical staff’s use of apps on smart-phones, further adds to the feeling of impersonal care. One suggestion to combat the problem may be to invite the doctors and other medical providers to sit down while having conversations with patients.
The Importance Of Having Someone Advocating On Behalf Of Patients
The survey found that patients who had someone advocating on their behalf, such as a family member or a friend, were 16% more likely to report that they were treated with respect and were 12% more likely to recommend the hospital to others. Patient advocates help patients determine and express their medical decisions and their concerns regarding care and treatment when they might otherwise be less effective because of their situations. However, fewer than one-half of the survey respondents knew if the hospital had an ombudsman on staff to assist patients with concerns regarding their hospital care and treatment, and only 4% actually requested the assistance of the ombudsman.
The Importance Of Sufficient Medical Staff
Survey respondents who believed that there were not enough nurses available were twice as likely to suffer a medical error and were 14% less likely to believe that they were always treated with dignity and respect.
If you or a loved one suffered an unexpected result from treatment or suffered injury due to possible medical error while a patient in a hospital in the United States, you should promptly find a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your hospital malpractice claim for you and represent you in a claim against a hospital, if appropriate.
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