We think of hospitals and health care facilities as places we can go where doctors and nurses can cure whatever ails us. However, sometimes a patient’s poor condition can be aggravated during a hospital stay – or that patient may fall victim to an entirely new malady. And it’s not unheard of for patients to die as a result of these new illnesses. Sadly, many of these in-hospital problems are totally preventable.
In the summer of 2010, the Las Vegas Sun newspaper conducted a study of southern Nevada hospitals to determine the incidence of what it called “preventable harm” events such as falls, infections, bedsores, and similar injuries. The study looked at almost three million inpatient records stretching back a decade. When examining the inpatient records for ten hospitals which commonly serve Las Vegas-area patients, the newspaper found:
- A total of 714 preventable harm incidents
- 316 infections associated with vascular catheters
- 194 falls and similar traumas
- 70 cases of Stage III and IV pressure ulcers (commonly known as bedsores)
- 46 urinary tract infections associated with catheters
- 44 cases of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolisms
- 21 foreign objects that were left after surgical procedures
- 13 surgical infections
This data can be viewed in two ways. Hospital proponents might argue that these preventable harm events represent a very small percentage of the patients treated at these hospitals. On the other hand, because these events are preventable, they have no business occurring in the first place.
If you feel that your health has been adversely affected during your stay in a hospital or health care facility, you should strongly consider contacting a personal injury lawyer.