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Studies reveal high number of malpractice deaths


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Oct 07, 2013 in Doctor Errors

Research published in September revealed that between 210,000 and 440,000 patient deaths that occur annually in the U.S. can be attributed to medical errors. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, poor hospital care and medical malpractice were shown to be the third-most prevalent cause of death in the nation.

These independent findings, which were performed by a toxicologist employed by NASA, contrast with figures given by the Institute of Medicine in 1999. The American Hospital Association claims that these lower numbers are more accurate. According to analysts, however, the disparity reflects the fact that nobody has ever actually tallied the number of preventable harm cases that occur annually.

The higher estimate means that around 16 percent of all hospital deaths are due to medical errors. Advocates who support better patient care say that the lower estimates created by industry bodies like the Institute of Medicine were known to be inaccurate at the time of their release. Doctors and caregivers who have studied the issue claim that the new numbers are indicative of the need for better awareness on the part of doctors and patients alike. They point out that groups like the American Hospital Association have not attempted to address the problem directly by computing their own accurate statistics.

Awareness of medical malpractice has increased since the 1999 report, and the ramifications of errors can lead to serious consequences for patients and their families. Patients who thought that they were getting cured may require additional surgeries or supplementary long-term care to remove surgical implements or correct problems that they didn't have before. These procedures can cost them thousands in excess medical bills, placing their families under serious financial strain. A malpractice attorney may investigate the operating histories of specific facilities and caregivers in order to help patients pursue compensation.

Source: Idea Stream, "How Many Die From Medical Mistakes In U.S. Hospitals?", September 20, 2013