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How patient errors may impact Washington residents


Between January 2013 and July 2015, the Patient Safety Organization of the ERCI Institute received reports of 7,613 wrong-patient events. Those reports were sent voluntarily by 181 different health care facilities during that time. However, it is believed that these figures may be only a fraction of the number of errors that actually take place. According to research done into the matter, patients may be misidentified at anytime and by anyone.

For instance, they could misidentified by a lab technician, a pharmacist or a nurse during drug testing or patient monitoring. If a mistake is made, it could have an impact on more than just one person. This is because if one patient gets the wrong medication, the person who was supposed to get that medication may not receive what was prescribed.

Medical errors can lead to serious consequences for patients including death. It is estimated that 251,000 people because of a medical error each year around the country, according to a 2016 report from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Patients and their families are encouraged to question why a medication is being prescribed or why a test needs to be conducted. The likelihood of an error could also be reduced by attaching patient photos along with their names as well as adopting a variety of other standard protocols.

If an action by a health care practitioner or facility causes a patient to be harmed, it may be advisable for the patient to meet with an attorney to see whether the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit would be appropriate. The attorney will need to determine whether such action constituted a failure to exhibit the requisite standard of care.