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Second most common cause of malpractice claims is surgery

Surgery is the second most common reason for malpractice claims according to a report from the medical liability insurer Coverys. It analyzed five years' worth of malpractice claims closed between 2014 and 2018 and found that 25% of claims were surgery-related. This, Pennsylvania residents should know, came to a total of 2,579 claims over the time period studied.

Avoiding medication errors with five simple tips

Four out of five adults in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. take some sort of prescription medication, over-the-counter drug or supplement every week. One third of adults even take five or more drugs at the same time. One can easily imagine, then, just how high the risk for a medication error can be. Certain combinations of drugs can cause adverse effects that injure or even kill the patient. With five simple tips, patients can help prevent such an adverse event from taking place.

Patients face risk for harm as ERs become overcrowded

Every year in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., more than 100 million people visit the emergency room, yet the quality of care in ERs can plummet with overcrowding. The Institute of Medicine noted this issue back in 2007, saying that overcrowding opens up the possibility for medical errors and sometimes life-threatening delays in treatment. Patients may be medicated too late, diagnosed too late or put in the hospital for longer than necessary.

The potential consequences of medical errors

Two decades ago, a report claimed that roughly 98,000 people in Pennsylvania and throughout the country die annually because of medical errors. A more recent study has found that the true death toll may be more than twice as high. That recent study also found that about 5% of patients in the United States are put in harm's way unnecessarily. Of those patients, about 12% will acquire a permanent disability or die because of a preventable mistake.

For patients, misdiagnosis can be deadly

People in Pennsylvania who seek out medical care often worry that they won't be taken seriously when they go to the doctor. They are concerned that something seriously wrong may be missed due to a physician's dismissiveness, lack of knowledge or negligence. They may have good reason for concern as some estimates say that up to 80,000 people lose their lives in American hospitals each year as a result of mistaken diagnoses. People who are misdiagnosed do not receive treatment for their conditions, allowing their illness to worsen and progress. Some may receive treatments for other illnesses that they do not have, which can be harmful in some cases.

Heart attack and stroke misdiagnosis in women

Women in Pennsylvania who have a heart attack may experience symptoms that are not thought of as typical like nausea, back pain or vomiting. When this happens, women are more likely to be misdiagnosed and receive delayed care for the myocardial infarction. According to a study by the American Heart Association, nearly 62 percent of women experience symptoms other than chest pain when they are having a heart attack.

Preventable medical errors still prevalent

A statement released by the federal Department of Health and Human Services indicates that preventable medical errors cause 200,000 or more deaths every year in Pennsylvania and across the country. The definition of a medical error has improved in recent years and has become more expansive. Generally speaking, medical errors can be divided into two categories.

Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 300,000 Americans, including those living in Pennsylvania, contract Lyme disease each year. However, the tick-borne disease is notoriously hard to detect, meaning that many people can have it without knowing it.

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