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What kind of medical errors do seriously ill people experience?

If you're dealing with a serious illness, you're likely spending more time than you'd like around doctors and other health care professionals in office settings and perhaps even in the hospital. The last thing you need is for a serious mistake to threaten your health or injure you. However, in a recent study, almost 25 percent of seriously ill people surveyed reported that they'd experienced a serious error.

An independent research firm conducted the phone survey for several organizations, including The New York Times. They talked with nearly 1,500 adults across the country who had either experienced a serious medical condition themselves that required multiple hospital visits and interactions with more than one physician or was close to a family member who met these qualifications but was unable to participate in the survey. The experiences with the health care system had to be no more than three years ago.

Among the errors that respondents detailed were the following:

  • More than one doctor ordering duplicate diagnostic procedures or tests (29 percent).
  • Getting conflicting recommendations from various medical professionals (23 percent). Eighteen percent of people who had been hospitalized reported that same problem, but among people in the same hospital.
  • Waiting too long to get appointments and/or have tests or treatments (23 percent)
  • Encountering unresponsive hospital staff (22 percent)
  • Having an experience in a hospital that would keep them from recommending that facility to someone with the same condition (21 percent)

Most people surveyed said that they didn't report these issues to anyone. Indeed, anyone who has had to deal with a serious or chronic condition (or been involved in the care of a loved one who has) likely has experienced at least one of these problems. Many people have come to take them for granted, unfortunately.

However, when you're dealing with a serious illness -- or any illness or injury, for that matter -- any delay in treatment, contradictory information or lack of communication among the health care professionals treating you can potentially be dangerous.

If you believe that you or a loved one was harmed by the actions or negligence of any medical professional, it may be worthwhile to consult with a Mississippi medical malpractice attorney to find out if you have legal recourse that can bring you justice and perhaps help prevent the same thing from happening to others.

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