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Study Reveals That Medical Errors Affect Over 5% of Patients

Medical errors are a leading cause of death and injury in the United States. In fact, multiple studies allege that acts of medical negligence are responsible for 250,000-440,000 patient fatalities each year – and that’s just in the United States. The reason for this statistical disparity is that patients may not realize they’ve been harmed by a medical professional until it’s too late, and providers are reluctant to officially disclose any incidents or accidents that could result in potential litigation.

Survivors and grieving family members may have grounds to file a claim based on the following medical errors and more:

  • Wrong-site surgeries
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Birth injuries
  • Improper transfusions
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  • Anesthesia injuries
  • Pharmaceutical errors
  • Central-line associated bloodstream infections
  • Failure to diagnose or treat a medical condition
  • Misusing surgical instruments or equipment
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia
  • Using contaminated or defective surgical instruments
  • Restraint-related injuries

Thirty years ago, investor-owned corporations started purchasing non-profit medical groups and independent facilities to create for-profit hospital chains. These hospitals are often underfunded, understaffed, and running on a corporate system that prioritizes an investor’s wallet over the health of a patient. Quite frankly, the overworked doctors, surgeons, and medical staffers practicing at these facilities lack the time and resources to effectively treat their patients.

How Prevalent Are Medical Errors?

Medical specialists have published countless studies to deconstruct the deadly link between medical errors and systemic negligence. Last July, Dr. Maria Panagioti and her colleagues published a new study, “Prevalence, severity, and nature of preventable patient harm across medical care settings: systematic review and meta-analysis,” in The BMJ, an online medical journal. To complete this research, the doctors analyzed 70 unique observational studies that contained detailed information on 337,025 victims of preventable medical errors.

The study recognizes six types of “preventable patient harm:”

  • Drug management issues
  • Non-drug therapeutic management incidents
  • Mistakes during invasive medical procedures
  • Diagnosis errors
  • Preventable infections
  • Mistakes during surgical procedures

According to this study, at least 1 out of every 20 patients – or 5% of all patients in the United States – is “affected by preventable patient harm in medical care settings.” The study also claims that 12% of all medical errors result in permanent patient disability or death.

Linda Carroll, a reporter for NBC News, emailed Dr. Panagioti for more information regarding this study. Dr. Panagioti elaborated on the results, explaining, “We need strategies in place to detect and correct the key causes of patient harm in health care. Our study finds that most harm relates to medication, and this is one core area that preventative strategies could focus on.” That said, Carroll also interviewed specialists who claim that reducing medical errors may require “a combination of patient and staff engagement, consistent management focus and, sometimes, technology.”

Do You Require Legal Representation in a Medical Malpractice Case?

The medical malpractice lawyers at Cullan & Cullan are committed to helping clients pursue justice and restitution by means of civil litigation. Because our skilled litigators are also licensed doctors with extensive medical training, you can trust our team to effectively investigate your case, calculate the projected value of your claim, and develop a litigation strategy that holds the negligent parties accountable for your losses. With our guidance, you can recover monetary damages, protect future victims from potential medical errors, and encourage positive change in the medical industry.

Contact Cullan & Cullan at (602) 900-9483 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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