When you see headlines about medical malpractice, what might follow is a case that is so horrific that the malpractice was easy to spot by anyone. Certainly, these cases do make good reads, but you mustn’t fall into thinking that all medical malpractice is dramatic, and you shouldn’t think that all deaths in medical settings are the result of malpractice.
One thing that is often misstated or misunderstood is the statistics for deaths at a facility. You might see a high death rate and become concerned; however, the death rate has to be put into perspective. You will likely find a higher death rate at a facility that handles people with serious or life-threatening illnesses. At the same time, a facility with a low death rate might not handle life-threatening cases.
Another factor that can also impact the death rate is what type of procedures the facility handles. If you have a very small hospital that only deals with getting patients stabilized to send to larger facilities, you might find that the death rate is very low. Some of these hospitals might handle only minor cases.
Putting the death rate into perspective according to the factors that impact the rate is something that can help you if you are vetting out facilities for an upcoming hospitalization or procedure. Make sure that you do your homework on each facility if you have time to do so. You should also find out what red flags you need to watch for during the course of your hospitalization. If something does happen and you find that you are the victim of malpractice, you might opt to seek compensation.
Source: The New York Times, “Death by Medical Error: Adding Context to Scary Headlines,” Aaron E. Carroll, accessed Aug. 31, 2017