Because health care providers frequently commit errors, preventing medical malpractice is an ongoing challenge. That is why the field of patient safety has become an emerging field of study within the health care industry. It seeks to document the errors that occur and learn from them to help patients stay safe.

According to hospitalsafetygrade.org, the term “patient safety,” is used to describe the efforts that are being made by health care facilities to reduce the chances that an accident will cause injury to patients in their care. Accidents can be the result of errors, infections and improperly addressed hazards that cause harm to unsuspecting people. Research shows that perhaps as mans as 440,000 or more people are the victims of fatal injuries resulting from medical malpractice each year in hospitals.

People who are concerned about protecting themselves and staying safe may consider bringing a companion to their appointments to heighten the pressure their doctor feels to act responsibly and take his or her time in recommending diagnoses and treatment options. Patients can also research the health care providers they hire, as well as analyzing the types of successful procedures specific facilities have accomplished.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also encourage people to pay close attention to the way they feel following surgery, procedures and other forms of treatment. If they recognize that they are feeling worse or that their recovery is not going according to the description provided by their doctor, they should immediately request a follow-up visit.

Ultimately, however, there is no excuse for medical negligence. No matter how informed you and your family are about patient safety procedures, you are still at risk because health care providers commit such a disturbing number of errors. That is why medical malpractice claims get made, to hold those providers accountable.