Johns Hopkins Medicine, one of the most renowned names in the healthcare field, released some shocking statistics last year: Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. That means 10% of all U.S. deaths are now due to medical error. The statistics look like this:
– The first leading cause of death, at 611,105 people per year, is heart disease.
– The second leading cause of death is cancer. We lose 584,881 people annually to that disease.
– Preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. 251,454 people die annually from healthcare errors.
In an all too common scenario, a medical mistake results in a medical malpractice case, where the injured party or, in cases where the mistake resulted in death, the family members try to recoup damages. That’s where a law firm like Ingerman & Horwitz LLP, can help.
The study authors at Johns Hopkins had this to say:
The researchers caution that most of medical errors aren’t due to inherently bad doctors, and that reporting these errors shouldn’t be addressed by punishment or legal action. Rather, they say,
most errors represent systemic problems, including poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or under-use of safety nets, and other protocols, in addition
to unwarranted variation in physician practice patterns that lack accountability.
Shocking Medical Malpractice Cases
The purpose of a medical malpractice case is to hold the medical community accountable. When we look to a physician or other care provider for treatment, we may, deep down, remember the old saying that it is “the practice of medicine.” But some of the cases we’ve seen have been so outlandish as to be almost unbelievable:
– Have you heard the stories of people failing to go completely under during major surgery? According to The Atlantic, anesthesia awareness, or “intraoperative recall” happens to one to two of every 1,000 patients every year. This happened to Sherman Sizemore Jr. who was aware during his surgical procedure in 2006. In 1998 Carol Weihrer said she suffered the same fate; she ended up founding the Anesthesia Awareness Campaign.
– The mix of an oxygen-rich operating room and electrical surgical tools can spark a fire that can burn patients severely during surgery. According to NBC News, 550 to 600 times a year, a surgical fire is sparked in an operating room. This phenomenon kills one or two people per year. In 2012 Enrique Ruiz was severely burned in this manner at Lincoln Hospital in New York.
– Frequently surgeons’ leave tools in the body of their patients, according to the journal Current Problems in Surgery. The article went on to suggest, “The issue of retained surgical items (RSI) has become a significant focus of safety and error prevention in the operating room (OR).”
While these case histories were shocking, we believe, and the statistics show us, that 90% of the time, our doctors get it right. However, the legal system was designed for the 10% of cases where the outcome is less than desirable.
If you feel like you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We’re here to help.