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Improper end-of-life care is often provided

You may know what you want in terms of end-of-life care, but what are the odds that you'll actually get that care? Studies have found that mistakes are made far too often.

One study audited multiple medical centers, starting out by talking to patients or those in charge of making their medical decisions to find out what life-sustaining treatments they wanted or had rejected. When they knew what the patients wanted, they then checked the medical records to see if the two matched.

It sounds simple enough, but the reality is that a full 37 percent of the patients had medical errors connected to their preferences for end of life treatment. The highest rate found, in some sites, was about 67 percent.

Typically, the mistakes tended toward too much treatment rather than too little. For example, a patient would have said that he or she did not want CPR, but the medical records would say that doctors should try CPR in the event of an emergency.

This is problematic because patients in these situations often can't communicate with the medical team. Family members may be far away, unable to offer guidance for hours or even days. The patients count on these orders to get the care they want at the end of their lives, and mistakes can take that away from them.

Did negligence in the hospital cause your loved one to get improper care? If so, you may have a lot of questions about your legal rights and what you can do going forward. Our website contains many of the answers that you may need.

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