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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1940771200-1-min.jpgIn May of 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General published a report regarding the rate at which Medicare patients experience harm while hospitalized. Although not every type of hospitalized patient harm is legally actionable, a significant fraction of such cases occur due to unacceptable manifestations of medical malpractice.

What Does the Report Say?

Widespread statistics indicate that more than 95 percent of older Americans are covered by Medicare. According to the HHS report, one out of every four of those individuals experienced harm if they were hospitalized in 2018. There is no evidence to suggest that the reality of this situation has improved since that time.

In 2018, 12 percent of hospitalized Medicare patients experienced harmful adverse events that were so significant that they necessitated longer hospitalizations and/or life-saving interventions, while others led to permanent harm or death. Additionally, 13 percent of Medicare patients were subjected to so-called “temporary harm events” which were serious in nature but did not meet the criteria noted above. Catalysts for both serious and temporary harm events included acquired infections, side effects from medication, treatment-related complications, and vaguely classified “patient care issues.”


rockford medical malpractice lawyerMedical mistakes happen for a host of different reasons. Medical care providers are human, so they get distracted and they may harbor potentially harmful subconscious biases. Institutional policies, poorly-run facilities, and even assumptions can lead to consequential patient safety scenarios. For example, in one recent post, we discussed the ways in which an atypical presentation of symptoms related to five potentially-deadly conditions accounts for 40 percent of cases in which emergency room patients suffer permanent or fatal harm as a result of misdiagnosis.

When patient safety risks are not adequately addressed, rates of medication errors, emergency room errors, diagnostic errors, and a variety of other consequential harm tend to risk, spike, or even skyrocket. One recent survey seems to illustrate what has long been suspected: Inadequate staffing impacts patient safety in both perceivable and measurable ways.

HR and CNO Professionals Are Confirming This Nexus

A respected advisory firm recently surveyed human resources (HR) professionals and chief nursing officers (CNOs) across the country about the most pressing issues impacting their organizations. When the responses were analyzed, it was revealed that 84 percent of respondents believe that patient safety and quality care is the single most critical issue impacting their organizations. An additional 77 percent cited significant concerns with strengthening employee engagement and retention.


rockford personal injury lawyerThe kinds of risks that patients face ebb and flow as the healthcare industry evolves. While some forms of injurious harm – for example, patient falls – remain relatively constant, others shift as the medical profession and medical facilities adapt their practices to the times. It was not so long ago, for example, that more patient harm was caused by providers’ illegible handwriting than was caused by issues with error-ridden electronic medical records maintained by hospitals.

Understanding the kinds of risks that patients face most frequently at any time is valuable for two primary reasons. First, this knowledge can empower patients to self-advocate if they are on the lookout for certain kinds of risks and errors. Second, this knowledge can be beneficial in the aftermath of sustaining injuries or illnesses due to a provider’s negligence. By understanding that a certain complication may be a sign of a common type of mistake, patients will be more likely to seek legal guidance and explore their legal options accordingly.

The Patient Risks that Are Most Concerning Right Now 

Every year, ECRI releases a “top 10 patient safety” concerns list that the healthcare industry – and patients alike – should be paying particular attention to. Of note on the independent organization’s list for 2023 are the following causes of patient harm:


rockford personal injury lawyerThere are a host of reasons why millions of Americans log on to social media platforms each and every day. From seeking support to connecting with others who share the same passions, getting the word out about important causes to catching up with loved ones, social media allows people to express themselves openly and instantly in the Digital Age’s version of a town square. Yet, not all activity on social media yields positive results. For example, injury victims need to take great care when engaging on social media platforms due to the unique risks that such activity poses while an injury-related legal case remains unresolved.

“Anything You Say Can and Will…”

Anyone who has ever watched a full season of a legal drama can probably recite the Miranda warnings by heart. The phrase “anything you say can and will be used against you” is the opening line of the Miranda warnings read to criminal defendants as they are being arrested. In a strange way, it can be very helpful for injury victims to keep this phrase in mind as they are engaging on social media while their personal injury lawsuit, insurance claim, and/or workers’ compensation benefits application remains pending.

It is true that the Internet is not always an injury victim’s enemy. For example, notable cases involving victims calling out insurance companies for bad-faith practices and receiving justice in high-profile fashion serve as victorious examples of speaking truth to power. However, social media platforms trip injury victims up far more often than they lend them aid.


rockford medical malpractice lawyerOne of the first questions doctors, nurses, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners usually ask a new patient is whether the patient has any known drug allergies. If the patient knows about a drug allergy, he or she discloses it to the healthcare worker, who notes it in the patient’s charts so that future exposure to the drug can be avoided. Unfortunately, healthcare workers are often busy and stressed, and details about allergies can be difficult to pay attention to. Nevertheless, this is not an excuse for accidentally giving a patient a dangerous drug and triggering an allergic reaction. If you or a loved one suffered a serious allergic reaction due to negligent medical care, you may be able to bring a case for medical malpractice

What Happens if Someone Takes a Drug They Are Allergic To? 

Allergic reactions vary depending on the person and the severity of the allergy. Some symptoms are not very serious, while others can quickly become life-threatening. The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction to a drug include, but are not limited to: 

  • Hives

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