Statistics Show the Worst Months and Days for Surgery Errors September 23, 2011.

There is a time to have surgery and a time when it is best to avoid it. Statistics show that July is a bad month for surgical malpractice deaths.

According to The Journal of General Internal Medicine, there is a hike of up to 10 percent of fatalities during that summer month. Why would that be? Turns out that is when new doctors-to-be, also known residents, are starting their training. The definitely should make patients pause about when to schedule surgery.

To be fair, the figures are not exclusively pointing at surgery as being the main cause of deaths during that month. Instead, there is a potpourri of reasons, including mistakes in prescribing and giving medication, in addition to messing up during a surgical procedure. If you stop to think about this, it should not really come as too much of a surprise. There are close to 100,000 deaths every year as a result of medical mistakes in the USA. About one in seven patients suffer from medical malpractice that causes serious harm, permanent injury, or death.

What do you do with these kinds of statistics? Is there something that can be done to protect your health, now and, yes, even in the month of July? There are a number of things patients can do to be proactive. These days, if you do not stick up for yourself, ask lots of questions, do your own research and make sure you understand what treatment(s) you receive, you run the risk of being on the wrong side of a medical malpractice experience. Asking questions and being informed may save your life.

Before you take a trip to a hospital for a surgery or anything else, ask them about their infection rate. While that may seem strange, the fact is just about 31,000 patients die every year from infections they caught while in the hospital. Hospitals measure their infection rates by something called catheter days. In other words, this is the number of 24 hour periods where a patient has a tube in them. Ideally, you want a rate of 0 in one thousand catheter days for a year or more. If it is higher than three days, book into another hospital.

There is no harm in asking your doctor how many times they have done the procedure you are booked to have. It is your body. If the doctor just says that they are the doctor and to just trust them, shop around for another more compassionate physician, with a better bedside attitude. If you are asking these questions on a Friday, then you might want to think twice about agreeing to take that slot. Elective surgery done on Fridays typically means the operating room staff are drained from a long week and running on residual energy. If they are tired, mistakes happen. In fact, avoid going to a hospital on a weekend, as staffing levels are not what they should be, labs are slower and doctors on call are out of the hospital at home.

Prescription errors and improperly prescribed medications are major causes of hospital deaths. In institutions with e-records, the error factor dramatically drops. Choose a hospital that uses electronic records, as it acts as a safety back up for you to protect you from drug interactions, wrong doses and wrong prescriptions.

Still find yourself faced with a sticky situation that you feel was the result of medical malpractice? Call an experienced Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer and find out precisely what you are dealing with and how to file a lawsuit. Not all bad medical outcomes are classified as medical malpractice, so it is best to consult with an attorney.