Patients trust that hospitals are clean, organized and sterile. Unfortunately, there are numerous ways – even outside contracting additional illnesses – that people can become victims. Each year, the ECRI Institute’s Health Devices Group identifies the top potential hazards facing those seeking care in the upcoming year.
What Are The Top Hazards To Be Aware Of In 2019?
While cybersecurity attacks have topped both the 2018 and 2019 lists, there are numerous potential hazards, including:
- Cybersecurity attacks: While medical facilities fight to get better about protecting their information management systems, they struggle against the increasing tenacity of hackers. Through the exploitation of remote access, hackers can bring a system down, slow it to a crawl or expose sensitive patient information.
- Contaminated mattresses: Blood and other bodily fluids can soak into a mattress or mattress cover rendering them hazardous to the next patient. Beds or stretchers might appear sterile, but can contain dangerous contaminants.
- Surgical sponges left in patients: The surgical team often relies on a manual count to ensure all surgical implements are removed from a body. Unfortunately, stress and the potential chaos of surgical complications can disrupt a count leading to materials left in the body which can, ultimately, lead to infection or other serious consequences.
- Patient lift systems: When moving patients from a wheelchair to bed, the individual is placed in a swing suspended from an overhead lifting mechanism. Unfortunately, mechanical failures are a possibility as is the potential for untrained medical staff to cause injury.
- Infusion pump errors: Mistakes such as entering the intended flow rate into an infusion pump’s dose rate field can lead to dangerous medication administration errors. Medical devices have become increasingly complex in recent years and the potential for errors has grown dramatically. Whether these units are misprogrammed or data was entered erroneously, medication mistakes can be deadly.
From defective medical devices to improperly managed medication delivery systems, hospitals can be dangerous places. While patients cannot control their risk when they visit a hospital, they can be aware of the potential hazards they might face. In the event of unnecessary suffering or a worsening condition, it is critical that you understand your legal rights to monetary compensation for the negligence you faced. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can explain your options.