Hospital Errors Still Rampant in the U.S.

by ShelbyW on April 24, 2013

Medical practitioners are amongst some of the most trained professionals in the world. In all honesty, if there’s one professional service that we’ll all need in our lifetime, oftentimes before we even begin to form memories, it’s medical care.

Unfortunately, the neglectfulness of doctors, nurses and other practitioners can sometimes lead to medical errors. The number of these errors reported each year is disheartening, but when those that go unreported are considered, it’s flat out tragic.

Reported Errors

There have been several studies about medical errors, and none of them are very promising. In 2000, the Institute of Medicine released a study stating that between 44,000 and 98,000 people die from preventable causes in America each year due to medical errors. They also stated that one million people are injured yearly due to these mistakes. Though some question the research methods behind this study, other researchers have found discouraging results as well.

A study conducted by the Department of Veteran Affairs concluded that one out of every 10,000 patients who entered a hospital would die due to medical errors. The study said that these people would’ve lived at least three additional months had they received optimal care. This may not seem like much, but when one considers that there are 129.8 million emergency room visits and 35.1 million inpatient discharges each year, the number becomes staggering.

Unreported Errors

As if the tragic numbers reported weren’t enough, it turns out that many errors never even get brought into the light of day. Federal investigators recently discovered that for every seven medical errors that take place regarding Medicare patients, only one gets noticed or reported. What’s even sadder is the fact that many hospitals don’t even implement changes to prevent errors like the ones that are reported from occurring in the future.

Unfortunately, many patients don’t report errors either. This could be because they’re traumatized or disabled by the injury, but there’s also the chance that they’re simply unaware of the mistake. Another contributing cause of not reporting one’s injury is the lack of understanding of how hospital bureaucracy works and what they can do about the injury they sustained.

Handling a Medical Error

Many people trust medical professionals with their lives, and this trust isn’t often misplaced. However, as a group of Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers reports on their website, “A busy hospital or medical practice, or a poorly-trained or distracted health care provider, may set the stage for an avoidable error that has permanent and life-altering consequences.” Anyone who starts experiencing negative side effects after a procedure, treatment or new medication regimen should immediately seek medical help. At best, it could be a slight side effect; at worse, the situation could turn fatal.

It’s also imperative for anyone injured due to medical negligence to seek a personal injury attorney. As mentioned earlier, far too many medical mistakes go unreported, and this means that they’re likely to continue. It’s vital for a person to report their injury not only for their own sake, but also for the sake of all of the patients who may one day be harmed by a physician if they’re not held accountable for their mistakes.

Unreported medical errors in America are a huge problem. Statistics already show an unacceptable level of errors that do get reported, but when one considers those that aren’t, the numbers are staggering. As with anything in the world, however; knowledge is power. Simply understanding the importance of reporting all medical errors may encourage those who were injured by a medical professional’s neglectfulness to come forward. Only then can real progress in medicine start to be made.

Shelby Warden is a legal researcher who strives to raise awareness of important legal issues. The Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers at Bottar Leone, PLLC, have been nationally-recognized by a number of prestigious peer review organizations for their dedication to helping those who have experienced a loss, including The Best Lawyers In America®, SuperLawyers®, and U.S. News & World Report®. They provide their clients with a well-funded and vigorous defense against powerful insurance companies.


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