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Medical errors far from uncommon

The possibility of medical malpractice is always present, but some believe that the health care industry itself may be to blame. Between the physician, the hospital, the pharmacy and the insurance company involved in a patient's care, there is a great deal of room for hospital errors and miscommunication.

Mistakes can occur at any point during a patient's treatment. When a patient first enters the doctor's office, his or her information is taken down and entered into a database. This is the first chance for costly or dangerous mistakes because a simple missed keystroke can mean a wrong diagnosis or incorrect directions for taking medication being given to the patient, opening the potential for injury and damage.

In many cases, patients cannot be treated by their general practitioner and must be sent to another facility. In some cases, one facility does not have working medical equipment, necessitating travel to another site. If a patient is admitted to a hospital or sent to an outpatient facility, an entirely new set of health care providers are now dealing with the patient and could feasibly make mistakes at any point during the treatment. Infections may be borne due to poor sanitation practices or failure of employees to observe sterile handling procedures.

A medical malpractice attorney may review a patient's medical records and advise the patient of his or her rights under malpractice law. Medical malpractice takes many forms, from wrong diagnoses to surgical errors, and can cause a wide array of injuries ranging from slight to deadly. Individuals who believe they may have been the victim of medical malpractice may seek the advice of an attorney to understand their rights.

Source: Fox News, "The ugly reality of medical mistakes," Feb. 6, 2013

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