It can be difficult to keep track of the many awareness weeks and observances that we have in the United States. Some are certainly more memorable than others. For example, you probably haven’t marked your calendar for “Fill Your Staplers Day” or the equally forgettable “Canadian Bacon Day.”
But there are other designated weeks that, while they may or may not be on your radar, deserve more attention than they get. National Patient Safety Awareness Week falls into the category of high importance. The medical community is gaining a deeper understanding of how medical errors impact patient safety, and the situation borders on being dire.
Why It is So Important
In 2016, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine released a study that found over 250,000 people die every year due to medical error. That makes medical error the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.
There are several reasons that so many errors occur in our healthcare system every year. Mistakes can occur anywhere in the healthcare process. Drug makers can release harmful medications to the marketplace. Doctors can wrongly diagnose patients. Pharmacists can give the wrong drug or dosage to a patient.
Patients interact with many different types of medical professionals every time they seek medical care. This presents several opportunities for mistakes. The sicker a person is and the more care they need, the more interactions they have, and the more likely they are to suffer from medical error.
Mistakes in medical settings are often due to human error. Medical professionals, just like anyone else, can be careless, distracted, or tired. Unfortunately, when healthcare providers make mistakes, the results can be very serious for a sick patient. Which brings us back to the importance of patient safety awareness.
About National Patient Safety Awareness Week
National Patient Safety Awareness Week is an initiative of the National Patient Safety Foundation. In 2017, it is observed from March 12 to March 18, and it is a great opportunity for both patients and providers to take stock in the risks present in the healthcare system.
As the foundation points out on their website, most Americans will experience a wrong, delayed, or missed diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. To address concerns of patients and healthcare providers, NPSF will host a chat on March 14. They also provide resources on their website to help reduce the occurrence of medical error and improve patient safety.
The efforts of the NPSF are much appreciated. They are giving voice to an important issue in our country. More Americans will become dependent on healthcare providers in the years to come, due in part to the aging U.S. population. As more people seek care, the importance of patient safety will become even more central to our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or illness due to the mistakes of a healthcare provider, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes. the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant has helped clients receive the compensation they deserve since 1985. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation, contact us to learn more about pursuing a medical malpractice claim.