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Wrong Patient Errors are Common in Healthcare

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Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Wrong Patient Errors are Common in Healthcare

Results of a recent patient safety study illustrate a troubling problem known as “wrong-patient” errors in the field of health care.  The ECRI Institute, a non-profit research group focused on patient safety, identified at least two cases of mistaken identity which resulted in patient fatalities, the report states.

From January 2013 to July 2015, over 7,000 cases of wrong-patient error were voluntarily reported as part of a federal monitoring program.  Researchers estimate that the reported cases represent only a fraction of wrong-patient errors that occur across the nation each year.

wrong patient errors are common at hospitals

Wrong-patient errors can result in over-medication, exposing a patient to unnecessary radiation through diagnostic testing, or, in extreme cases, even conducting surgery on the wrong patient.  Many hospitals and healthcare providers do not have adequate policies and procedures to stop these errors from occurring.

However, even when safeguards have been put in place to avoid wrong-patient errors, doctors and staff may violate protocols or they may not have been properly trained on the best practices.  Hospitals and health care facilities can be held legally responsible for any injuries sustained by a patient due to a wrong-patient error.

In the event of a wrong-patient error, a detailed investigation must be conducted to determine how the mistake occurred, whether policies had been implemented to avoid such errors, and, what procedural violations directly led to the error.

A thorough investigation requires in-depth knowledge of the medical field and healthcare administration. This is a complicated area of the law and you don’t have a case simply because you can prove a mix-up. A patient must demonstrate that this error resulted in serious harm. If, for example, your X-ray found a serious condition like cancer but it was switched with another patient’s record, the mix-up may lead to a failure to treat you that could have tragic consequences. In one case, a patient in cardiac arrest was not resuscitated because he had been confused with a patient with a do-not-resuscitate order.

If you have been harmed by a wrong-patient error, do not wait to contact a legal professional to get your investigation started.  The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers would be glad to discuss your case with you and determine how to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries. Call us at (757) 455-0077

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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