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Patient fatalities from medical mistakes

When New Mexico patients are admitted into a hospital, they typically expect their doctors and other hospital staff to provide them with the best care possible. While most doctors do provide excellent care, preventable mistakes do happen that could result in serious injury, illness or even death.

According to the number of deaths reported in a 2007 study, medical the numbers of fatalities resulting from mistakes and bad hospital care could be up to 440,000 patients per year. If this is the case, poor hospital care and preventable illnesses or injuries could be the third-leading cause of death for United States residents. Other sources, such as the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, estimate a lesser number of fatalities to around 180,000 patients.

The estimated number of fatalities caused by poor hospital care and preventable harm has risen in the last decade or so. One of the first report issued regarding the number of fatalities was published in 1999 by the Institute of Medicine. While the number of fatalities, which was estimated to be about 98,000 per year, was initially disputed by the medical community, the number became more widely accepted later on.

If a doctor or physician makes a medical mistake that results in serious injury or illness, the patient may have the grounds to file a medical malpractice. Depending on the severity of the illness or injury, the patient may seek compensation for certain damages associated with the medical mistake that was made. For example, these damages could potentially include the additional cost of hospital treatment that resulted from the mistake, compensation for temporary or permanent bodily damage and even compensation for pain and suffering.

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