A study has estimated that more than 250,000 people die each year in the United States as a result of medical errors. If these numbers are accurate, medical mistakes would trail only heart disease and cancer as a cause of non-violent death in the country. The study was published in a medical journal and the researchers involved were from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Data was obtained from Medicare and several hospitals.
It is often hard to pin down the cause of a person’s death in a post-mortem study. One reason is that deaths are sometimes complicated and the official cause may have been as a result of a medical condition that the person had. An example of this is a death being classified as a failed CPR, but a patient’s condition may have worsened due to a liver laceration sustained during unneeded testing a few days before.
Although these numbers paint a grim picture, the medical community is continuously looking to determine the causes of and eliminate medical errors. The American Hospital Association has pointed out that studies show that the number of hospital-acquired illnesses has dropped in the last few years.
Medical malpractice can take a variety of forms. Examples can include failing to provide a patient with the correct medication or the correct dosage or performing a surgery on the wrong body part. Negligence can lead to a worsened medical condition requiring additional and expensive care and treatment. An attorney can review a patient’s hospital records and discuss the case with a medical expert in order to determine whether a lawsuit should be filed against the health care practitioner or facility.