If you have ever been to Times Square in the heart of New York City, you understand how a flood of noise, sights and smells overwhelm even the most hardened city dweller. Regardless of the time of day, electronic lights flash messages ranging from benign advertisements to danger warnings intended to protect individuals from harm. It is virtually impossible for our minds to process this many messages and for us not to become distracted. With an aging and growing population, the increase in the number of individuals with access to health insurance coupled with technological advancements, today’s hospitals are virtual Times Squares. Emergency rooms, intensive care units, intermediate care floors and other units are full of hurried care givers inundated with sounds from buzzers, alarms, bells and phones, as well as visual diversions from flashing lights, heart tracings, call lights, computer screens, emails, texts and patient televisions. All of these distractions present significant safety hazards with regard to patient safety for family and friends who have to be hospitalized.
Recent data gathered by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PPSA) reveals that over 65% of Serious Events reported in Pennsylvania were caused in some manner by healthcare providers being distracted. Studies show that healthcare providers responsible for dispensing medication are distracted every two minutes while emergency room staff members are distracted every six minutes. A 2011 study found that over half of the operating room staff attending cardiac bypass surgery use cell phones during the procedure to text or email. Because of the growing number of distractions, here are tips that you can take on behalf of yourself or loved ones whom you are visiting in a hospital to protect them.
It is intimidating and scary to be in a hospital. Even though you or your loved one does not feel well, no one will be more vigilant in protecting your safety than you. Do not be afraid to speak up, ask questions, ask for clarification and be your own advocate. While the healthcare providers in the hospital have many patients, you only have one – so take care of that patient.
At Messa & Associates, we are committed to improving patient safety. Virtually every day, we console clients whose lives have been irreparably changed because hospitals and physicians break patient safety rules and deviate from standards of care. We feel the impact that these harms and losses have on victims, their families, and their friends. We remain frustrated by witnessing the number of preventable errors that routinely occur. If any one of these suggestions can protect you or a loved one, we will be one step closer to eradicating this dangerous trend.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced in handling complex medical malpractice cases, including but not limited to MRSA infections, surgical site infections, foreign objects, missed diagnoses, surgical errors, and treatment errors/negligence. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to medical negligence at a hospital, nursing home, or rehab facility, act quickly. Call a medical malpractice attorney from Messa & Associates today, before your rights to legal compensation have expired. Call 877-MessaLaw for a free consultation or submit an inquiry online for a free case evaluation.