A Johns Hopkins study estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. In fact, the National Patient Safety Foundation refers to ‘patient harm’ as the third-leading cause of death, ranking just behind heart disease and cancer. Although the potential for patient harm is great, the problem is not well-documented.
Medical mistakes that can lead to wrongful death range from surgical complications that go unrecognized to mix-ups with doses or types of medications patients receive. Patients may be injured and sometimes die as a result of mistakes made in hospitals, clinics and nursing home facilities across the country.
As it stands, the system used by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to record cause of death fails to capture things like communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, and poor judgment that cost lives. Only the underlying condition that lead to admission to medical facility in the first place is documented as cause of death so medical errors are rarely addressed.
Despite the reluctance on the part of doctors or medical facilities to report, many feel that some form of data collection of deaths attributed to medical error is needed to fix the problem. Increasing public attention and alerting lawmakers to how big the issue really is, may result in more research and the development of other resources that can lead to improved outcomes for patients across the country.
Medical malpractice can be generally defined as treatment that falls short of accepted standards of care. In some cases it involves well-meaning doctors and nurses who make mistakes; in others it involves carelessness that defies imagination. If you or a loved one has been injured in an Iowa or Illinois hospital or other care facility contact the personal injury lawyers of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson for help today.