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Hospitals act to improve safety and prevent malpractice lawsuits

North Carolina residents may be aware that medical mistakes lead to the deaths of thousands of Americans every year. Doctor errors and hospital negligence result in more than 85,000 medical malpractice lawsuits being filed annually, and some hospitals are taking proactive steps to improve patient safety and reduce their chances of becoming the defendant in one of these lawsuits. Medication errors and surgical mistakes are two areas that are receiving particular attention.

Hospitals may be able to cut down on surgical errors by bringing in independent third parties to speak with patients after they have gone through a surgical procedure. Patients are more likely to be candid when discussing their experiences with somebody who does not work for the hospital, and the kind of feedback gathered could identify sloppy procedures or error-prone doctors or nurses. Doctors may also find this information useful when seeking to identify the causes of a patient's worsening condition.

Hospitals place tight controls over the dispensing of prescription drugs, but these efforts are not able to prevent medication errors claiming approximately 7,000 lives each year. Medication errors are often blamed on overworked or fatigued doctors and nurses, and some hospitals are hiring individuals to review work schedules and shift rotations to ensure that medical staff members remain alert and are not overworked.

While any steps that improve hospital safety should be welcomed, it may come as little surprise to medical malpractice attorneys that the primary goal for many of these hospitals is avoiding lawsuits rather than protecting patients. Hospitals and doctors often guard their reputations zealously, and they may sometimes be willing to settle medical malpractice lawsuits in the hope of avoiding the publicity that a trial would bring. Attorneys with experience in this area may assess the merits of a medical malpractice lawsuit and advise the victims of doctor or hospital mistakes if it would be wise to accept a settlement offer.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP
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