Medical Errors Responsible for Many Deaths

Did you know that medical errors are responsible for many more deaths than accidents in our modern times? Statistics-wise, errors occurring in the hospital are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. at this point. In 2013 alone, it was estimated that 440,000 Americans would die annually from preventable hospital errors, and these numbers are only on the rise. Leah Binder, President and CEO of the Leapfrog Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, has commented on the fact, “We are burying a population the size of Miami every year from medical errors that can be prevented. …Hospitals are taking steps toward safer practices, but these efforts aren’t enough.”

Is there a reason behind these numbers? There are, in fact, some common injuries and diagnoses that lead to medical malpractice suits every year. If we could gain a better understanding of why these accidents happen, we could prevent them in the first place. In turn, we would be saving many more lives each year.

Common Cases

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: These are some of the most largely accounted for cases because doctors may miss a condition or serious disease for some time before a right diagnosis is made. This means that, in turn, the patient is not receiving the care that they need and could suffer very real harm. This is why, in a case, a competent doctor must be examined and compared to what this doctor did not do correctly. If a competent doctor did not make the same error, the treating physician may be charged with malpractice.

Childbirth Injuries: Brain injuries like cerebral palsy, fractured bones, erb’s palsy, and more are caused by doctors and malpractice every year. However, many more of these cases stem from something other than negligence by a treating doctor. In some cases, a mother may experience negligent prenatal care. This could include a failure to diagnose the mother, failure to identify birth defects, ectopic pregnancies, and disease diagnosis. In other cases, the negligence may occur during childbirth. This could stem from a failure to anticipate birth complications or order a C-section where it was necessary.

Medication Errors: In the U.S. every year, medication errors could harm up to 1.5 million people. A patient could become harmed if a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or if the patient takes said medication in too high of a dose.

Anesthesia Errors: These errors can be extremely serious because even a simple mistake can lead to permanent injury, brain damage, or death. This could result when an anesthesiologist fails to investigate the patient’s medical history or fails to inform the patient of risks involved with the process. In some cases, they will administer too much anesthesia to the patient, fail to monitor the patient’s vital signs, or use defective equipment.

Surgery Errors: You may find that a surgeon was negligent during an operation and punctured vital organs, operated on the wrong body part, or left surgical equipment in the body. However, negligence can also occur by a nurse in post-op care.

A specialized attorney can help somebody recover damages when they have been injured by medical malpractice. These damages may stem from unnecessary medical bills, lost wages, lost services, pain and suffering, and so much more. There must have been a duty of care, the physician violated that standard of care, there was an injury as a result, and this stemmed from the lack of care. If you believe you have a case, give us a call today so we can help you with your medical malpractice claim. At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, we care and are waiting to hear from you!