We have all heard of horrific medical errors like tools being sewn back up into a patient or having the wrong limb amputated but the perception that these types of errors were rare has been shattered through research. The National Institutes of Health landmark report issued in 1999 called “To Err is Human” estimated that medical errors caused 98,000 deaths each year. A new study published May 3 in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ analyzed four previous studies conducted between 2000 and 2008 and concluded that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., actually accounting for 251,000 deaths annually; more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s. This number equates to almost 700 deaths per day or about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States. It is almost triple the number of deaths found to be the result of medical errors in the 1999 study. Part of the reason for the disparity is that the recent analysis delved deeper into causes ranging from incompetent doctors to communication breakdowns between staff as a patient is handed off to a different department.
A system of secrecy: medical errors
Health care providers may tout their patient safety records by highlighting safety committees and protocols but few provide the public with specific information on actual cases of harm due to mistakes. Compounding the problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t require reporting of errors in the data it collects about deaths through billing codes, which means a lack of data on the national level.
The current network of doctors and hospitals has worked to hush research and discussion into deaths made by medical errors; we are only now beginning to understand the real consequences of the status quo. Clearly, this limited discussion has not been keeping patients safe.
The law in all 50 states allows medical professionals, hospitals and other health care facilities to deny access to peer review findings about what may have caused the serious injury or death. This means that medical mistakes are allowed to be buried and kept away from medical malpractice attorneys and family members of the victims, even in the case of a seriously injured patient.
Do you have a case for medical malpractice?
If you or a family member was the victim of a medical error or negligence; you may have a case for medical malpractice. Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help you to fight for the damages you deserve. The majority of patients who are the victim of medical errors choose never to file a medical malpractice claim even though they may have a case; don’t miss out on compensation for your loss.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!