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Any Mistake can Lead to Severe Patient Harm

Provision of quality medical care helps ensure right diagnosis, correct and accurate medical procedures and effective medication and treatment. These, anyway, are what patients deserve, nothing less. Thus, medical professionals have the enormous responsibility of performing their duties only with the highest possible level of care.

All states in the U.S. have the duty and authority to protect and ensure the general welfare, safety and health of all its residents. This is why each state’s medical licensing board makes sure that only those who pass its standard are given the license to practice medicine and provide medical treatment.

Despite the rigorous training undergone by doctors and medical personnel, however, medical mistakes still happen and, in many hospitals, cases of malpractice only continue to rise. But rather than being caused by lack of knowledge on what to do or how to treat a patient well, the mistakes are caused by acts of carelessness or negligence which are actually due to exhaustion, miscommunication, failure to relay vital information about the patient, and many others.

Most medical mistakes are committed in emergency departments or emergency rooms (ERs), often overcrowded and chaotic hospital areas where patients, who are not aware of ER policies on who gets treated first, are also, very often made to wait very long before finally being provided the treatment they seek. (People rushed to emergency departments are treated based on the severity of their condition; thus, a person with a more severe condition will be treated first even if he or she arrives much later than someone else whose health condition is not as serious. The severity of health condition is assessed by one called a “triage” nurse).

Doctors, nurses and other members of the medical staff on duty in emergency departments are often overworked or stressed, however, due to the continuous arrival of patients, who demand immediate treatment, or because specialist physicians decline to render service. This usually results to poor communication and lack of collaboration between nurses and doctors which, in turn, lead to incorrect assessment of real health complaints or wrong diagnosis. This is the basis of the thousands of medical malpractice lawsuits, which ERs are very frequently recipients of.

As explained in the website of the law firm Mazin & Associates, “Doctors, nurses, and hospital staff each have the responsibility of caring for the health of their patients to the best of their abilities. If they do not apply their best efforts to every case, then tragic consequences often arise.”

Medical mistakes, especially serious ones, can lead to the cancellation or suspension of a medical license. The real burden, however, falls on the harmed patient, for it is he/she who will suffer from the effects of the mistakes or negligence and, in many instances, these negligent acts have resulted not only in injuries but wrongful death too. This is why if medical professionals are negligent, they should be held responsible for the unnecessary harm they cause.