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Texas Medicare patients at risk of surgical errors

Medicare recipients in the Houston, Texas, area may be concerned to hear about a recent report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. According to the report, it is estimated that 6,000 hospital errors occur every month among Medicare patients alone. These errors are called "never events" and include surgical errors like operating on the wrong limb or having surgical equipment left inside a patient. It is also reported that 180,000 Medicare patients each year die from accidents and errors.

In order to draw attention to these unfortunate numbers, the AARP has partnered with a nonprofit organization called The Leapfrog Group to show what some of the most innovative hospitals are doing in order to prevent "never events."

One standout hospital, which has had problems in the past, has overhauled its safety procedures, increased it efforts and implemented new safety protocols in order to prevent errors. Nurses now spend triple the time at patient bedsides and surgery checklists are now being used. Patient safety alerts have been established to encourage any hospital employee to speak up when a patient's life appears to be at risk. As a result of its efforts, the hospital has been consistently receiving high ratings from the nonprofit organization.

For those unfortunate patients who do not benefit from a hospital's efforts to reduce preventable errors, it is important to know that there are forms of relief available. When a surgeon operates on a patient in a negligent manner and the patient is injured as a result, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice. The hospital may also be liable under the legal doctrine that holds an employer responsible for the negligenct conduct of its employees.

Bills that result from medical malpractice can be extremely expensive. It is often necessary for an injured victim to seek compensation from all responsible parties. With the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, victims may be able to obtain the compensation they need in order to recover from injuries caused by a negligent doctor.

Source: AARP The Magazine, "Lessons From America's Safest Hospitals," Beth Howard, April 01, 2013

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