Medical Malpractice Now Top 3 Cause of Death
Johns Hopkins University recently released a report on the prevalence of deaths due to medical errors, and the numbers are alarming: More than 250,000 fatalities in the U.S. annually are a direct result of mistakes made by healthcare practitioners when treating patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, that puts health-related errors as the third-leading cause of death in the country, after heart disease and cancer. Plus, there are many more patients who suffer devastating injuries due to failures in treatment, leaving them with sky-high medical bills, and horrendous pain and suffering.
While there are countless types of mistakes that can cause harm to a patient, some of the more common errors may allow a victim to file a claim for medical malpractice.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
If a physician fails to make a proper diagnosis, there can be grave consequences for the patient. A misdiagnosis may lead to prescribing medications or treatments that a patient doesn’t need, and which can be harmful. A delay in diagnosing a disease may mean it’s too late for a patient who could have been treated had the medical condition been discovered in time.
There are a few ways that healthcare providers can make mistakes with medications. A practitioner may not thoroughly review the patient’s chart and prescribe a drug that counteracts another medication; at times, a doctor may not discover that a patient is allergic to certain medications. Other errors including prescribing the wrong drug for a condition or dosage issues.
News stories often report situations where a surgeon operates on the wrong body part or – worse – the wrong patient. There are many other types of surgery errors that are preventable but may not make headlines. A physician may sever a nerve or artery, leaving a foreign object inside a patient during a procedure, or fail to account for circumstances that arise in surgery.
Medical mistakes with anesthesia are due to the anesthesiologist but are closely tied to surgery errors. The doctor may fail to identify issues in the patient’s medical history or use the wrong medication. Many anesthesia issues arise when too little or too much medication is administered, or when the anesthesiologist doesn’t properly monitor the patient’s vital signs during surgery.
Proper medical care after a patient leaves the hospital is just as important as while he or she is there. Unless healthcare practitioners provide responsible, appropriate aftercare, a patient can suffer injuries. Infections after surgery are the most common, but reactions to drugs or procedures are also a problem.
You Have Options if You Suffer Injuries
If you have been hurt or a loved one has been injured or died due to medical error, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. Please contact the offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth to schedule a free consultation to review your circumstances. Our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys have helped many victims of medical errors with claims, and we can help you, too.