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The Human Cost of Medical Malpractice


Following heart disease and cancer, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in Americans, making up about one-sixth of yearly deaths in the United States. Medical malpractice is a silent killer that is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths annually. Quite shockingly, it is estimated that everyone will experience a substantial diagnostic error at some point in their lifetime. Despite the alarming nature of these statistics, little has been done to change this trend due to limited public exposure.

In a 1999 analysis entitled "To Err Is Human" published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), it was estimated that 98,000 people were dying per year from preventable hospital errors. This number has skyrocketed, as the newest report published by the Journal of Patient Safety indicates that as many as 440,000 people annually die from a preventable medical condition. These deaths are not from the initial sicknesses that people visited a hospital for, but from errors in treatment that resulted in secondary complications.

The following are some examples of preventable conditions:

  • Infections
  • Treatable blood clots
  • Bad combinations/doses of drugs
  • Trauma suffered from falls
  • Over exposure to medical radiation
  • Errors in diagnosis

The loss of life is made even worse when compounded with the financial implications, as it is estimated that medical errors cost nearly $17 billion each year. This number is even greater when adding into account missed work days and lost productivity, raising the total to about $1 trillion annually.

How Can This Trend Be Changed?

In order to combat this trend, major change is needed. The IOM's latest report, "Improving Diagnosis in Health Care," states that cultural shifts, improved education, and an error reporting system is needed to keep medical personnel accountable. Until these changes are made, it is likely that this unfortunate trend will continue to affect thousands.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a preventable medical error, a Weston medical malpractice lawyer from David C. Rash, P.A. can help you seek compensation. With more than 25 years of experience and millions of dollars recovered on behalf of our clients, we are prepared to stand by your side and make every effort to secure a fair settlement for your suffering. Call (954) 914-7116 or request a free initial consultation today.

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