Deaths due to medical errors continue to rise

Patients in Ohio may be particularly concerned to hear that medical errors are the third most common cause of death in the U.S. Each day, over 500 people die of causes associated with preventable medical mistakes. In 2000, the Institute of Medicine published a report that said roughly 100,000 Americans lose their lives every year due to doctor or hospital mistakes, and statistics indicate that the number may have only increased since then. One 2016 report said that patient deaths may amount to over 250,000 annually due to medical mistakes.

Health care professionals share this concern about the prevalence of errors. Every year, diagnostic errors affect at least 12 million patients, and one-third of them suffer serious harm as a result. In a survey of nurses, 35 percent rated their own workplaces unfavorably in terms of patient safety. Many have particularly noted the danger of medication errors due to a mistaken prescription or a pharmaceutical error. Psychiatric patients may be particularly vulnerable to mistakes, including serious medication errors or even more dangerous forms of negligence or abuse.

One reason it's difficult to fully understand the scope of the problem is that the reporting of some cases of medical negligence can obscure the causes. While the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports on the frequency of severe pressure ulcers caused by untreated bedsores, it relies on claims data to note the problem. This means that many such problems go uncounted.

When a patient goes to the hospital or visits the doctor, they expect to receive reliable treatment for their illnesses or injuries. If a mistake occurs, however, they may wind up with a worsened medical condition. Someone who has been injured by such an error can consult with a medical malpractice injury lawyer. An attorney can review the case and help the client seek compensation for their damages.

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