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How can hospitals stop medical malpractice lawsuits? By protecting and properly caring for their patients. As a patient, you want to know that you’re in safe hands, especially because you’re at your most vulnerable when you’re unwell or concerned about your health. Hospitals and medical teams can help you stay safe, but they can also make mistakes that put you at risk. When you find that you’ve been injured or that someone you love has been killed because of a simple mistake, that’s when you could find yourself asking how hospitals can better protect their patients.

There are over 85,000 medical malpractice lawsuits filed each year in the United States, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Out of those lawsuits, 12,000 of the victims died due to surgeries that weren’t necessary and around 7,000 were killed due to medication errors that weren’t caught by doctors or pharmacists.

Medication errors and fatalities can be linked directly, with more medication errors linking to higher risks for death and side effects. It’s also easy to see how they can happen. An overworked pharmacist, for instance, could fill the wrong prescription in the right bottle, or a tired doctor could write out a prescription for the wrong medication completely. To help prevent this, doctors and nurses should have oversight. Generally, a doctor’s prescription is only reviewed by a pharmacist, so there is still a chance for error.

However, if an oversight department made sure that maximum work shift hours were enforced and that doctors who were tired had the rest they needed, these mistakes may not take place.