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15 common medical errors that can lead to death

Before going to the hospital, residents of New Jersey will want to be aware of what medical errors are commonly made. Doctors can make these errors whether it's during a complex surgical procedure or a simple appointment. First, and perhaps the worst of them all, is when doctors operate on the wrong patient. This usually happens when there are name mix-ups and poor communication. Sometimes the wrong part of a person's body can be operated on.

Foreign objects left in the body are a third cause of medical-related injuries. Infections are also frequent. For example, urinary catheters that stay in too long can lead to urinary tract infections, and ventilators can spread pneumonia, especially when patients are lying down flat. Doctors or nurses could also mistake chest tubes for feeding tubes. Breathing tubes, if removed too early, could kill patients. IV or syringe injections can cause air bubbles to enter the bloodstream, which causes death when undetected.

Doctors who wear latex gloves without washing their hands first can put patients at risk since germs can travel through the latex. Medication errors, dosage mistakes and overtreatment are also common. Patients are also liable to have their symptoms dismissed, follow a doctor's wrong advice and have their treatment delayed due to emergency room overcrowding.

When someone is sure that he or she was the victim of medical malpractice, the first step involved with filing for compensation is to consult with a lawyer. Malpractice suits often end in multimillion-dollar settlements, so it's important that a victim has an attorney bringing together the right paperwork and negotiating on his or her behalf. Lawyers can also work with the families of individuals who died because of a doctor's negligence. To find proof of negligence, attorneys usually request medical inquiries and even bring in their own investigators.

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