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Will Maryland medical mistakes become a thing of the past?

Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer take more lives. However, medical mistakes are often preventable, which makes the situation a lot more disturbing. Patients, including those in Maryland, upon being released from a hospital, have the right to expect to be disease-free. Imagine their feelings when they discover that they still do not feel well. Fortunately, new information has revealed that hospitals are on the right track in addressing concerns and are slowly making progress.

In the last 15 years, the Institute of Medicine has been focusing on patient safety. The focus has been on "never events" or preventable errors, such as failure to treat infections, misdiagnosis and wrong-site surgery. The Journal of Patient Safety has stated that the deaths of approximately 440,000 patients occurred annually because of such incidents. Nonetheless, a survey conducted by a non-profit organization has showed encouraging results. The performance of approximately one-third of hospitals surveyed improved by approximately 10%. This included prescribing the correct antibiotics and proper hand washing.

The Department of Health and Human Services also reported similar findings. Between 2010 and 2012, the complications that occurred from the hospital visits decreased by 9%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on the other hand, reported that from 2008 to 2012, there was a 44% decrease in infections in the bloodstream. Additionally, some hospitals are also allowing their employees to intervene when they recognize that something is wrong.

To say that medical mistakes will become a thing of a past is extremely premature. If hospitals are cleaning up their act, it is very good news for patients. Failure to diagnose a patient's illness, as well as incorrect surgery and other medical errors, compromise the health and the life of a patient. In such a situation, a patient may wish to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Hospitals Make Progress on the Path to Safety," Katherine Hobson, Aug. 13, 2014

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Hospitals Make Progress on the Path to Safety," Katherine Hobson, Aug. 13, 2014

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