You would think that living in such technologically advanced times that we could expect perfect service when it comes to health care. Sadly, this is not the case. Hospitals and medical centers have always struggled with errors, infections, and accidents. In this respect, they are much like any other large organization. In today’s guide, we’re going to go through some of the biggest issues in modern healthcare facilities. Take a read – and keep your eye out the next time you visit your doctor or a hospital.
Too many deaths
The first problem is a big one – there are too many deaths occurring in the nation’s hospitals. Of course, it’s expected in such an environment – but the problem is the cause of those deaths more than anything else. According to statistics, 500 patients die every day because of error, infection, or accident. There is also a lot more suffering besides that, due to unnecessary procedures and misdiagnosis.
Not enough time
Doctors and nurses are stretched wherever you look. They work long hours, see hundreds of patients between sleep, and will, naturally, make mistakes. It’s clear that overworked medical staff will have an impact on patient safety, for an enormous variety of reasons. They might miss vital signs of a disease progressing, or even fail to wash their hands and spread infection. They are not superhuman and, just like everyone else, they make mistakes.
Too much harm
There are some alarming statistics about harm coming to patients. One in four people with Medicare reported some form of damage during a stay in hospital – which simply isn’t good enough. If you experience such lack of care while visiting a hospital, what are you going to do? You can start by looking for medical malpractice attorneys to take on your case. You are under the hospital’s care throughout your stay, and if anything happens to you, they should expect an investigation. In many cases, the harm will be minimal – and perhaps a human error. But in other situations it could be down to pure negligence, and you will deserve compensation.
Too many infections
Infections are one of the biggest causes of problems in healthcare environments. According to reports from 2014, 1 in 25 people admitted to hospital picked up infections. While hospitals aren’t completely to blame, it’s a big concern. And, when you consider that it appears antibiotics are becoming less effective, it’s a scary thought for the future. Clostridium difficile infections are some of the most common. But also high up on the list is central line-associated infections, and catheter-associated infections. The operating room is also a big problem area, with surgical site infections also common. If medical centers can’t shut down infections, people will be less likely to use them – and the results of that should be obvious to everyone.
Too much delirium
It might surprise you, but hospitals can be an assault on the sensed. Elderly patients in particular, can have a terrible time adjusting to the bright lights, loud beeps, and constant waking. And it’s a serious issue. 20% of senior patients develop delirium while staying in hospital. And even worse than that, one out of every six of these people will die as a result. It’s a stark warning that although hospitals are the places we look to recover, it might develop into something else entirely.
Too much medical error
98,000 people die as a result of medical error every year in hospitals alone. There is a broad range of reasons why. A doctor might give out the wrong medication, for example, or give them too much and cause an overdose. Not only that but an alarming number of patients experience complications as a direct result of their hospital stay. We’ve already covered infections, but there is also slips, trips and falls. Patients can often suffer from the development of conditions like ulcers, too.
Too little support
Another big problem area is the lack of support given to discharged patients. Even if patients get first class care when staying in a hospital, they often are unwell when they go home. It could be down to their mental health, or it might be a physical issue, such as muscle wastage after being bedridden. Again, it’s the elderly that tend to suffer most – and they can have a lot of difficulties looking after themselves.
We don’t mean to direct any ire towards hospitals. In the vast majority of cases, you can go to a medical center and come out better than you felt when you entered it. But some of these statistics show there is still a long way to go before we get anywhere close to calling hospitals safe.