Hospital Mistakes, By the Numbers

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Check to be sure your medications do not interact with each other.
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Check to be sure your medications do not interact with each other.

A British teenager was left paralyzed from the waist down after hospital staff members left a painkiller in her back for two days. Sophie Tyler was admitted to the hospital three years ago to have gallstones removed. As reported by Mail Online, the chief medical officer at Birmingham Children's Hospital made an apology statement regarding what happened to Tyler at their hospital three years ago. We will take a look at what other hospital mistakes have taken place over the years.

July 2012: The day Medicare stops paying for preventable health problems or complications caused by hospital mistakes. These mistakes are being called "never events," according to The Huffington Post, and include operations on the wrong person or wrong body part. These steps are supposed to encourage health professionals to reduce medical errors.

1,002: The number of serious medical harm cases reported by California hospitals between July 2007 and May 2008.

244,388: The number of U.S. deaths caused by medication errors in hospitals from 1979 to 2006. An article by ABC News also reports that medication errors spiked in the month of July in countries with teaching hospitals. The article goes on to further note that many residents begin working in the month of July.

$19.5 billion: The price that medical errors and the problems caused by them cost the U.S. economy in 2008. Medical errors can cause problems such as bed sores and post-op infections.

Nearly one in two: The number of parents in Glasgow, U.K., not informed that their children were given the wrong treatment, according to BMJ.

Up to 98,000: The number of deaths reported annually due to medical errors. Millennium Research Group also noted that medical errors were the fifth-leading cause of deaths in the United States.

1 in 3: 1 in every 3 patients who goes to the hospital in the United States will be affected by a hospital error.

28: The number of states requiring hospitals to report medical errors. 11 of the 28 states must list the mistake by hospital name. Texas is one such state required to report hospital mistakes.

9: The number of questions you should ask hospital staff that could save your life. One question every patient should ask is, "Have you looked at my list of medications?" This question avoids possible drug interactions. Asking if the staff knows who you are, if they are giving you the right medication, and what the test they are performing is for are among the other top nine questions to ask.

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