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Top 10 Causes Of Patient Harm In The US: First Half 2022


Ever since 2007, the Joint Commission has been publishing a report on so-called “sentinel events” in health care. These are the medical errors that result in fatalities, permanent disability, or severe temporary harm. This independent, non-profit organization accredits more than 22,000 health care facilities in the US, and it recently published an article on the Top Sentinel Events for the first 6 months of 2022. The numbers themselves are not noteworthy, as just 2 percent of sentinel events are reported to the Joint Commission.

However, the types of mistakes are disturbing, and they may constitute a breach of the standard of care under Florida medical malpractice laws. Some are linked to the decision-making or actions of an individual health care provider, while others are enterprise wide. The harm to patients ranges considerably, so it is reassuring to know that you have legal remedies if you were affected. A Miami medical malpractice lawyer will advise you regarding:

  1. Falls: The top spot on the sentinel events list is patient falls, which usually occur when getting in and out of beds, and using restrooms. Understaffing is often behind falls, since patients who are left unattended often try to get up on their own.
  1. Unintended Retention of a Foreign Object: This misconduct is a surgical error, in which the physician and surgical team leave a device inside a patient after surgery.
  1. Suicide: As a sentinel event, suicide is preventable when health care providers take proper precautions upon becoming aware of the risk.
  1. Delay in Treatment: This sentinel event occurs most frequently in busy hospital ERs, but health care providers are still responsible for delivering prompt treatment.
  1. Wrong Surgery: Improper, negligent handling of patient charts is the most common reason a surgeon performs the wrong procedure, but the harm can be devastating.
  1. Assault/Rape/Sexual Assault: When criminal activity takes place at a health care facility, the claim is often based upon a facility’s negligence in hiring staff.
  1. Medication Management: There are multiple parties involved with administration of medications, and any of them may be accountable for errors.
  1. Self-Harm: This sentinel event is related to suicide, so health care providers do have a duty to take action when they know or reasonably should know that a patient has self-harm intentions.
  1. Fire: Though not a situation where medical malpractice laws apply, a health care facility is obligated to maintain a safe environment. An injured victim may qualify for damages through a premises liability claim.
  1. Clinical Alarm Response: Medical equipment incorporates alarms for a reason, and the failure to respond to an alert could put patients at risk of serious injuries.

Consult with a Florida Med Mal Attorney About Legal Remedies 

If you or a loved one suffered harm because of medical negligence, time is of the essence to pursue your legal remedies. For more information, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. We can set up a free consultation at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL. After reviewing your case, one of our skilled lawyers can advise you on how the process works.



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