Medical Malpractice Errors The Cause of Personal Injuries and Wrongful Deaths

Preventable medical malpractice happens every day, in every state. Medical malpractice happens when a healthcare provider either chooses an inappropriate treatment or chooses the appropriate treatment but does it incorrectly.

Conservatively it is estimated that 160,000 patients are permanently injured killed every year, according to researchers at the John Hopkins University. The most common medical mistakes according to the John Hopkins University study diagnostic errors account fo 35% of nearly $39 billion in compensatory payments between 1986 and 2010 in 2011 dollars.

Now comes a new study from the Journal of Patient Safety that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffers some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, the study states.

That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second.

However, that is not all, surgical errors that should never have happened are also common. There are believed to be more than 4,000 such events in the United States each year. More specifically, according to one study a surgeon in the United States leaves a foreign object such as a sponge or a towel inside a patient’s body after an operation thirty-nine times a week, performs the wrong procedure on a patient twenty times a week and operates on the wrong body site twenty times a week.

Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services in a recent report said that hospital employees recognized and reported only one out of seven errors, accidents and other events that harm MediCare patients while they are hospitalized. Some believe this is true for most events, i.e., non-MediCare patients. Yet even after hospitals investigate preventable injuries and infections that have been reported, they rarely change their practices to prevent repetition of the “adverse events,” according to the study, from Department of Health and Human Services.

Although healthcare providers injure thousands upon thousands of patients every year because of medical malpractice less than 2 percent of these adverse events caused by medical negligence resulted in a claim being made. In fact in all 50 states in recent years, medical malpractice payouts have been dropping.

In their article Five Myths of Medical MalpracticeDavid A. Hyman, MD, JD and Charles Silver, JD explores five common held beliefs that are simply untrue. They are (1) Malpractice crises are caused by spikes in medical malpractice litigation (ie, sudden rises in payouts and claim frequency), (2) the tort system delivers “jackpot justice,” (3) physicians are one malpractice verdict away from bankruptcy, (4) physicians move to states that adopt damages caps, and (5) tort reform will lower healthcare spending dramatically. Each assertion is “common knowledge” and wrong. I encourage to read the article Five Myths of Medical Malpractice researched and written by David A. Hyman, MD, JD and Charles Silver, JD.

Do not be afraid or intimidated, if you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice the law allows you to be compensated. Contact an attorney to discuss your situation and learn your rights. Medical malpractice unfortunately happens every day be vigilant.

Interesting reading:

Briefing Book Medical Malpractice By the Numbers, Center for Justice and Democracy.
Five Myths of Medical Malpractice researched and written by David A. Hyman , MD , JD and Charles Silver, JD.
Wall Street Journal Article “The Biggest Mistakes Doctors Make” published November 18, 2013.

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