Medical errors has long been known to be one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States, with reports from 1999 (To Err is Human, Institute of Medicine) revealing a serious problem and sprung changes in policy and health care. However even today, the percentage of patients who die from medical malpractice or medical errors have increased to as many as four times, with medical errors being the third leading cause of death in the US following cancer and heart disease. It is believed that IOM had very limited detailed information in estimating the magnitude of medical errors in hospitals.
According to the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, medical errors can take place in many forms: leftover sponge inside the patient’s body after surgery, wrong medication or dosage given to the patient, unclean medical tools of equipment that caused infection or contamination, or doctor errors. Presently, these types of errors are already causing 1,000 deaths a day in America. Despite these facts, hospital industry leader say it may be very difficult to lower the number, mainly because of the complexity of hospitals and the already very sick patients that go there.
It may even be more discouraging to know that aside from these medical errors being completely preventable, the expenses for the additional health complications that they cause are paid by the patients themselves. Law firm Williams Kherkher explains on its website that patients do have a right to file for a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital employee who caused the injury as long as the injury or death is directly caused by the medical errors and that there is evidence to prove the claim, but these types of cases often require strong evidence and testimonies. Likewise, there’s also a cap on the amount of compensation that the patient can receive. Such is the case with Risperdal lawsuits, where patients developed severe side effects such as heart attacks, tardive dyskinesia, and gynecomastia due to it being used for unapproved illnesses. Experts believe that the only way to prevent such medical errors from causing preventable death is by strictly ensuring the hospital compliance to rules and to have fully functioning health care systems.Read More