3 Alarming Facts About Medical Errors in the US

Physicians and other healthcare professionals are held to very high professional standards. This is as it should be. Doctors have the opportunity to play a critical role in the lives of their patients. Unfortunately, that means that they also have the power to do harm or allow harm to befall a patient if they are negligent.

This guide is not meant to suggest that most physicians are incompetent or careless. Far from it. Healthcare professionals undergo years of education and training to optimize their skills and knowledge.

However, they are still human beings. That means some of them will make mistakes. Some of these mistakes are understandable, while others are the result of unreasonable negligence.

To better understand the degree to which medical negligence is a significant problem in the United States, consider the following facts. Several of them may surprise you.

Medical errors frequently result in death

Medical errors and medical malpractice take a variety of forms. The following are among the more common:

  • Failure to diagnose a condition or diagnosing a condition late
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or treatment
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient
  • Failure to account for a patient’s medical history when prescribing a medication or treatment
  • Failure to properly warn patients of the risks a certain treatment may involve

Those are just a few examples. When medical errors occur, the consequences for patients can be substantial. It is not uncommon for medical errors to result in death.

This is a more widespread problem than some realize. According to a recent study from John Hopkins, at least 250,000 Americans die as a result of medical error every year. Some estimates indicate the number of Americans who die due to medical mistakes may be close to twice that number.

Even if we rely on conservative estimates, these findings indicate that medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the US. Only cancer and heart attacks claim more lives every year.

Many hospital deaths are preventable

Medical error and medical malpractice can occur in virtually any healthcare setting. That said, these types of mistakes often occur in hospitals. This may be due to the fact that hospitals are often busy and crowded. In such a setting, it is easy for mistakes to be made.

That’s not to say all these mistakes are unavoidable. According to one survey, nearly 200,000 hospital deaths in the US every year are the result of errors that could have been prevented.

Most medical malpractice victims don’t take legal action

One estimate indicates that a mere 2% of medical error and medical malpractice victims file claims or lawsuits for compensation. This means the vast majority of medical error victims are not receiving compensation for such losses as their additional medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, and more.

You do not need to be among those who are deprived of the compensation you deserve if you are ever harmed as a result of a medical professional’s negligence. To learn more about your options, discuss your case with a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney at the Weitz Firm, LLC. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at 267-587-6240  to schedule your consultation.



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