Going into the hospital can be a frightening experience. Many Pennsylvania residents have heard horror stories about patients who developed additional illnesses or infections while hospitalized, or were the victims of medical malpractice. There are things patients and their families can do to avoid medical errors and missteps in hospitals, but if the medical center still errs, they do have the right to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Some tips to enhance patient safety in hospitals:

• Hospital-acquired pneumonia can be prevented in many instances by the relatively simple measure of making sure that the patient’s bed is propped up to a 30-degree angle.

• The use of readily available alcohol wipes on surfaces in hospital rooms can kill staph bacteria that cause some common infections. At the same time, they are evidently completely ineffective on far peskier C. diff germs, which can lead to some highly serious infections.

• Bedsores, a malady that plagues many hospital patients due to lack of mobility and lying in one position in bed for extended periods of time, can be lessened by eating high-protein snacks.

• Making sure that medical personnel frequently wash their hands is important, and failure to do so can spread germs and infection from one patient to another, sometimes with deadly results. Yet 27 percent of doctors and nurses surveyed thought that patients’ asking that they do so was inappropriate, probably because such reminders bruised their egos.

• It is often important to note the time when medical tests are ordered and what the test results are. Often, a failure to do a retesting in a timely fashion within a particular time framework can make any comparisons – essential for seeing how the patient’s progress is trending — very difficult.

Source: Jackson Free Press, “A Patient’s Guide: How To Stay Safe In a Hospital,” Feb. 7, 2013

  • Our firm handles medical malpractice and other personal injury claims for Pennsylvania residents. To learn more about our practice, visit our Harrisburg medical malpractice page.