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Medical mistakes may be third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Every year more than a quarter of a million Americans die from medical mistakes and hospital negligence, and millions more are injured. According to an anesthesiologist at Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins Hospital, if we added up all of the deaths caused by hospital negligence and medical mistakes, including those that occur daily but go unnoticed, these incidents would make such mistakes the third leading cause of death in the America.

In some cases hospital negligence is unavoidable, but in many more cases these mistakes are preventable. Because the high costs associated with hospital negligence, anything preventable is unacceptable. The following is a couple of the most shocking, and often preventable cases of medical negligence that occur in hospitals across the United States.

One common mistake is treating the wrong patient. Hospitals are very busy and mistakes happen, but failures in supervision are unacceptable. One way to address this potential hazard is to make sure staff knows who they are dealing with.

Another common mistake is when surgical staff forgets a surgical instrument in a patient. To prevent complications it is important for patients to contact the hospital if there is unexpected pain following surgery.

While the ultimate burden to provide high quality and safe health care falls on the shoulders of the hospital and treating physician it is equally important for patients to remain attentive. The possibilities of medical mistakes that may cause serious injuries or even death are simply too real to ignore.

If someone is injured due to negligence it is important to contact someone immediately. No one should have to pay for the negligent mistakes of another.

Source: WHPTV, "10 shocking medical mistakes," John Bonifield and Elizabeth Cohen, Nov. 6, 2012

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