Medical Errors a Leading Cause of Death in Hospital and Outpatient Settings

November 16, 2018

Whether treated as an outpatient or admitted for an overnight stay, experiencing hospital negligence is a very real possibility. A 2016 study by John Hopkins University School of Medicine discovered that more than 250,000 people in the United States die every year from medical errors. The problem is especially alarming as medical errors are now the third leading cause of death—behind cancer and heart disease. 

Medical errors may result in serious and irreversible harm. You trust your health care provider with your life. If you or someone you love has experienced harm or died due to a medical error, contact a Kentucky personal injury lawyer without delay. 

Common Types of Medical Errors

When you visit a medical facility, you do so because you either aren’t feeling well or you experienced an injury. A medical error only compounds your pain and suffering as the result of a preventable mistake. The following are just a few  common types of medical errors:

Misdiagnosis—A misdiagnosis has a domino-effect as it leads to unnecessary tests and treatments. With the true diagnosis missed, the patient is at risk for further declining health. 

Unnecessary Tests and Treatment—Unnecessary tests are costly. Studies show that $700 billion is spent annually on unnecessary tests. Unnecessary treatment is sometimes deadly, due to exposure to high amounts of radiation and unnecessary surgeries. 

Infections—The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that hospital-acquired infections affect approximately 1.7 million people a year. Types of infections include pneumonia and blood infections from an IV. 

“Never Events”—Medical errors that should never happen are known as “never events.” Operating on the wrong limb or leaving surgical equipment in the patients are two examples of such events that can result in serious consequences for the patient and in some cases, death. 

Major Causes of Medical Errors

Everyone makes mistakes, however, when it comes to a medical error, there is no quick fix. A patient may face additional surgeries, expensive medications, and multiple types of therapy to deal with the error. At the same time, they must continue to deal with the pain and discomfort of their original complaint. 

To understand how medical errors happen, it is important to consider the following contributing factors to medical errors:

Doctor Fatigue—A recent study by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that 55 percent of physicians who responded to a survey admitted to symptoms of burnout. Additionally, ten percent of respondents admitted to making at least one major medical error within the prior three months.   

Communication Failures—Poor communication between health primary care physicians (PCP) and specialists sometimes results in delayed treatment for patients and in prolonged hospital stays. For example, 69 percent of PCPs frequently sent medical history to specialists. Due to poor communication, only 35 percent of specialists reported receiving any critical documents or medical images.  

Kentucky Hospital Negligence Lawyers

At Saladino & Schaaf, we have years of experience representing Kentucky clients in personal injury lawsuits and hospital negligence cases. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been the victim of a medical error—or if someone you love has died as the result of such an error—call us at (270)444-0406 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. 

Time is of the essence so don’t delay— Begin your journey to justice by contacting us today.




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