What is the state of patient safety in the U.S.?

Over the past several years, a number of ground-breaking studies have confirmed that medical mistakes are far more pervasive – and far deadlier – than had previously been assumed by just about everyone. As a result, an increased awareness of patient safety challenges has been obvious in media coverage, medical journals and premises for new medical studies. 

Most recently, the Association of Health Care Journalists sought to clarify the “state of patient safety” in the U.S. In a nutshell? It isn’t great.  

What is going on?

The assessment of the nation’s patient safety indicates that while patients have been enduring a reduced quality of care over the past few years – due in large part to understaffing – patient care across the U.S. wasn’t stellar before staffing levels took a dive. 

Too many preventable adverse events are affecting the well-being of American patients, which is a conclusion that tracks with research released by the prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine concerning emergency care specifically and medical error rates generally.

Essentially, the state of patient safety in the U.S. is such that if patients suspect that they’ve suffered harm as a result of a medical error or another preventable adverse event, they’re probably correct. As a result, it’s vitally important that patients understand that they have rights under the law. 

In the event that a medical provider or facility has provided substandard care and patients suffer physical and financial harm as a result, affected patients can potentially pursue compensation for damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit. Understanding that they don’t just have to “sit back and take it” when professionals don’t provide adequate care can be justifiably empowering for patients. 

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