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New York medical instructor tells her malpractice story

Medical malpractice is part of the curriculum at the University of Buffalo Medical School in New York. An adjunct research instructor of family medicine knows from personal experience the havoc that medical errors and other forms of medical malpractice in hospitals can create. Citing the fact that 180,000 Medicare patients die each year across the country due to medical error, the teacher asks students to consider the very human side of each tragedy. She should know; her mother was one.

In 2009, her 88-year-old mother was admitted to a hospital to treat a non-life-threatening leg condition. During her hospital stay, the elderly lady was given medications that the teacher says she now knows were a "deadly cocktail." Six weeks after the mother's admission, she died due to the medication errors and hospital acquired infections. For those facing hospitalization, she now suggests bringing sterile tissue wipes and cleaning everything in the hospital room. Each person entering the room, particularly hospital staff, should be instructed to wash their hands before touching a patient, she says.

While it is gratifying to know medical schools are addressing the problem of medical errors in hospitals, the simple fact remains that patients continue to be victimized by medical misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes and other acts of medical malpractice. A family expecting their loved one to have a short hospital stay instead is left to grieve and wonder how such things could happen. A New York City lawyer devoted to helping victims and their families seek just compensation for unjust medical errors may help those suffering gain some measure of solace.

Source: Forbes, "NY woman,university fight against medical errors," Aug. 22, 2011

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