According to a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors now constitute the third leading cause of death in the United States. “Based on an analysis of prior research, the Johns Hopkins study estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors.”
Medical mistakes may range anywhere from surgical errors, medication errors, overdoses, inappropriate treatment, lack of treatment, or failure to appreciate a rapidly decompensating patient among other things.
It’s important to note that victims or medical errors may not be aware that he/she or their family member has become a victim. The Center for Disease Control currently has no coding system to classify medical errors on a decedent’s death certificate.
To error is human. Just like any occupation, healthcare professionals may make errors during the course of a hospitalization or treatment. Focusing on the healthcare you receive is scary to think about because there is always a worry that something could go wrong. We like to think it will always play out flawlessly, but that’s not always the case. Everyone is human, even doctors.
What is Medical Malpractice?
According to the Institute of Medicine, “Medical errors can be defined as the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim. Among the problems that commonly occur during the course of providing health care are adverse drug events and improper transfusions, surgical injuries and wrong-site surgery, suicides, restraint-related injuries or death, falls, burns, pressure ulcers, and mistaken patient identities. High error rates with serious consequences are most likely to occur in intensive care units, operating rooms, and emergency departments.”
Negligence may be any medical malpractice that occurred during a hospital, nursing home, emergency room admission, or healthcare treatment. It includes any healthcare provider, such as a physician, midlevel provider, nurse, medical assistant or technician. Routine medical errors may include:Negligent delivery of a baby Failure to monitor, carry out a doctor’s orders, or notify a doctor Failure to follow-up the chain-of-command Improper / lack of plan of treatment Performing the wrong procedure Retained objects Neglect or physical abuse Medication errors / overdose
Systemic negligence is caused by the hospital system and may include unsanitary conditions, inadequate staffing/training/supervision and malfunctioning equipment.
Litigating Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims differ state-by-state. Texas has passed wide-sweeping reforms to prevent medical malpractice claims from entering the court system. Because medical malpractice claims require attorneys to be experienced with those specific legal requirements for filing and proceeding with medical malpractice claims it is important to contact an attorney familiar with the current statutes, regulations, and filing requirements for malpractice claims. Failing to meet those State requirements can end up with the permanent dismissal of your claims.
What to do if you believe you’ve been the victim of malpractice?
It is important to contact an attorney with experience handling medical malpractice claims to determine the statute of limitations, the responsible parties, the future investigation of the claim, what rules and regulations apply, what monetary caps apply, and how to proceed, if litigation may be necessary.
Helpful information to have if you believe you may be a victim of malpractice when you contact a medical malpractice attorney, is the names of those persons involved, any notes or documentation regarding the care, medical records, and any relevant records.
Medical malpractice can lead to irreparable birth injuries, brain damage, disability, and life-altering consequences. According to the Institute of Medicine, “Beyond their cost in human lives, preventable medical errors exact other significant tolls. They have been estimated to result in total costs (including the expense of additional care necessitated by the errors, lost income and household productivity, and disability) of between $17 billion and $29 billion per year in hospitals nationwide.”
If you think you or a loved one was a victim, contact a lawyer that will help you navigate a medical malpractice case. Consultation service from the Maloney Team is free.