Study suggests medical errors are a leading cause of death

Based on the findings of a recent study, medical errors cause over 251,000 deaths each year, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

People in New Mexico may require medical treatment to address an acute condition, to render emergency care or to monitor an ongoing ailment, among other reasons. When they go in for such treatment, most people do not expect doctor errors to occur and cause them additional or worsened medical conditions or death. However, the Washington Post reports that over 251,000 deaths are caused by medical mistakes each year. According to a study posted in The BMJ, such errors should be listed as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Common medical mistakes

Although there are policies and regulations that are aimed at limiting them, there are a number of doctor errors that occur all too often. Some of the most common of these include the following:

This type of medical negligence may be the result of poor communication, fatigue, failure to follow safety protocols or any other number of factors.

Examining the prevalence of medical error-related deaths

Researchers from John Hopkins Medicine conducted a study to understand the prevalence of medical error-related deaths. They looked at the occurrence of these fatalities in relation to other causes of death as specified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To this end, the researchers analyzed prior research.

According to an NPR report, medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States based on the study's estimates. Only cancer and heart disease contribute to more deaths each year. Based on their findings, the researchers openly urged the CDC to add doctor mistakes as a leading cause of death on its annual list. The CDC's current system does not include cause of death options relating to poor judgment, breakdowns in communication and diagnostic mistakes, among other types of errors.

Effects of medical mistakes on patients

People who fall victim to doctor errors may suffer a range of effects. The types of effects that patients may experience vary based on a number of factors, such as their medical conditions prior to the mistake and the type of error that occurred. As a result of medical mistakes, patients may develop infections, suffer injuries or be otherwise harmed. This may lead to them needing additional medical care, which may include subsequent medical procedures or a prolonged hospital stay.

Consulting with an attorney

When medical errors occur in New Mexico, patients may suffer serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. This may lead to them losing income while they are recovering and incurring unexpected medical bills. Under some circumstances, the medical professional who made the mistake may be held liable. Therefore, those who have been harmed as a result of a doctor error may find it helpful to discuss their case with an attorney. A legal representative may explain their rights and help them determine if their injury or condition might have been prevented.