One of the directors at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement pointed out when asked about mistakes that are made in hospitals, that the issue comes down to the fact that people are working in those settings. They may have excellent training, but that does not take away their humanity, and there is simply going to be the chance that someone will make a mistake, as humans are prone to do.
For instance, the top issue that someone may face in a Kentucky hospital is a medication error. Experts have said that this is the most common problem in hospitals. Part of it comes down to the smallest of details. One expert pointed out that reading a decimal point incorrectly when giving out medication could be the difference between someone getting the care he or she needs and getting a dose that is life-threatening.
To see just how often these types of things happen, try looking at the national numbers. Some studies done in the last 10 years have determined that there could be as many as 450,000 medication errors across the country each year. Researchers have also pointed out that it is not clear if all instances are reported, so the real number could be a lot higher.
Patients can do something about this, though. Experts have suggested that the most important thing for people to do is to ask questions and be attentive. Always make sure to say something if they think a mistake has been made.
Even with attentiveness, though, it is all but impossible to prevent human errors, and those who have been victimized must know what legal rights they have.
Source: Web MD, "Common Problems Patients Face in the Hospital" R. Morgan Griffin, Sep. 12, 2014