Causes of Wrongful Deaths in Hospitals
While there can be many reasons why wrongful deaths occur in hospitals, some reasons are much more common than others. For example, in many cases a patient will die as a result of receiving the wrong medication or incorrect dose of their prescribed medication. In other situations, patients will develop infections due to a lack of proper care from doctors and nurses, which if left untreated will lead to death. Finally, many wrongful deaths occur when doctors fail to properly diagnose an illness or condition, or may use the wrong treatment methods on a patient, leading to death.
As more attention has been focused on the high number of wrongful deaths within hospitals, many organizations have now started to develop ratings systems for hospitals. Using statistics from medical and surgical mortality rates, hospitals are given higher or lower ratings on patient care, enabling people to be better informed about the hospital they may be planning to use. While it would be assumed many U.S. hospitals were given high ratings, the fact is only seven hospitals were deemed excellent, with St. Alexius Medical Center and Presence St. Joseph Hospital being the two Illinois hospitals making the cut.
How Can Hospitals Improve?
In studying hundreds of hospitals, researchers have found those with high ratings have a number of programs in place to greatly reduce the chances of medical errors occurring. For example, highly-rated hospitals have excellent communication among staff, which helps in reducing medication or surgical errors. Along with this, they also have effective sanitary practices in place with medical personnel who work with patients. By emphasizing hand washing that is done before and after dealing with patients, the risk of patients getting infections is far lower than in other hospitals.
Why Do Errors Continue to Occur?
Unfortunately for hospital patients, there are often very limited programs in place that hold employees or others accountable for their medical errors. In fact, some hospitals have no programs whatsoever in place that discipline employees who are found to be responsible for various types of medical errors. In many cases, unless a patient or their family members report the error to hospital administrators or outside agencies, regulators have no way of knowing about the errors. Sadly, rather than risk losing money or even accreditation due to numerous medical errors, some hospitals will choose to stay quiet about the mistakes and continue to employ personnel who may be putting the lives of patients at risk due to their negligence or carelessness.
Programs of Accountability
To ensure medical errors do not occur at a hospital, most regulators agree strong programs of accountability need to be in place that allow for disciplining employees who commit these errors. In many situations where a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional commits a medical error, a hospital will place the person on administrative leave while they investigate the matter. While some situations will result in a reprimand of the employee, other errors that are extremely serious or result in a patient’s death lead to the employee being fired. However, since many hospitals are leery of potential wrongful death lawsuits, they will do everything possible to minimize their responsibility in the matter.
Wrongful Death Compensation
When a patient’s family seeks compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one, this can encompass a variety of factors. Along with being compensated for the emotional pain of losing their loved one, families may need to be compensated in a manner that will allow them to continue having the same standard of living as that to which they have been accustomed over the years. To ensure this happens, an attorney will fight hard to gain compensation for the future earnings the family’s loved one would have earned had they lived.
Seek Out an Experienced Attorney
If your loved one died due to a hospital’s negligence and carelessness, seek out an experienced attorney from the Zayed Law Offices as soon as possible. With years of experience handling these cases, clients will know their attorney will have what it takes to hold the hospital accountable for its actions.