BUFFALO, N.Y. – There are many reasons you may want to go to a rehabilitation hospital. Rehab can speed-up your recovery time from injuries, surgeries or a stroke. But sometimes a stint in rehab can do more harm than good.
According to a new government report released this week, nearly a third of the patients in rehab hospitals suffered a medical error, bedsore, infection, or in some cases they suffered a completely different injury.
The doctors behind the study reviewed nearly 500 cases and said that nearly half of the incidents they identified were ‘clearly’ or ‘likely’ preventable. A Buffalo medical malpractice lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says errors in hospitals are some of the most common injuries Americans suffer.
“The first rule of healthcare is ‘do no harm’ but some hospitals and medical centers are failing to do that in Buffalo,” medical malpractice attorney Steve Barnes said. “Medical malpractice is currently the third leading cause of death in America and little is being done to address this problem.”
A recent report published by the BMJ found that medical errors could be claiming over 250,000 lives every year. That’s more than car accidents, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and respiratory diseases. In fact, only heart disease and cancer claim more lives each year.
An oversight study on rehab facilities, conducted by the office of the inspector general (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, echoed many of those previous reports.
The OIG found that more than a quarter of the patients in hospitals and up to a third of those in skilled nursing facilities suffered an injury during their time in rehab. Still, some rehab centers are promoted as ‘healthier alternatives’ to typical hospital stays or a nursing home.
“Patients can suffer medical malpractice in almost every healthcare environment but many of those heading to rehab are getting misled,” Barnes said.
The injuries reported in the study added up to a total cost of around $7.7 million for just the one month researchers analyzed the data. The doctors who reviewed the cases noted that failure to provide care, substandard treatment and poor supervision caused the most harm.
Nearly half of the cases (46 percent) were attributed to medication errors and painkillers.
The inspector general has recommended that other government agencies work together to tackle the problem of medical malpractice in rehab facilities. One of the suggestions included making a list of all incidents but Buffalo medical malpractice lawyers say it could be a difficult challenge.
“Malpractice is often hard to identify and medical centers are not always willing to admit they’ve caused a patient harm,” Barnes said. “That’s why it’s important for patients and their family members to contact a legal professional when they believe they’ve been harmed by a doctor or hospital staff member.”
Cellino & Barnes has helped many victims of malpractice recover significant settlements and verdicts. If you’ve been injured in a rehab center or hospital, a consultation with an attorney won’t cost you a thing. With multiple Cellino & Barnes offices in Buffalo, medical malpractice lawyers are always available to answer your questions. Contact Us today to get started.