Medical errors may be third-leading cause of death

An analysis by two Johns Hopkins Medical School doctors finds that medical errors account for over 250,000 deaths a year - or almost 10 percent of the total deaths in the United States.  That equates to nearly 700 deaths per day, third only to heart disease and cancer. 

The two authors said the errors include everything from bad doctors, surgical complications, mix-ups with the doses or types of medications, to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.  The study was conducted to shed light on a problem that many hospitals and health care facilities often avoid talking about. 

Kenneth Sands - Chief Quality Officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston - says the numbers aren't alarming. “There has just been a higher degree of tolerance for variability in practice than you would see in other industries,” he explained.  For example, when passengers board a plane, there’s a standard way attendants move around and prepare for flight.  Yet such standardization isn’t seen at hospitals.

The study contends that death from medical error has been understated, in large part, because such error by health providers is not included on death certificates.  The analysis also highlights the fact that the coding system used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to record death certificate data doesn't capture things like communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors and poor judgment that cost lives. 

While most doctors and other medical professionals are capable and compassionate individuals, medical mistakes continue to occur and the results can be devastating. A medical malpractice claim is a long and complicated legal matter because it's not always easy to prove causation. In addition, claims are bound by a statute of limitations that defines how long someone has to file a claim. With so much at stake, it’s crucial to retain an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. 

If you or a loved one has been injured or disabled by a medical malpractice, the first step in effective treatment is to contact your physician immediately. And if you or a loved one needs an aggressive, yet compassionate and caring medical malpractice attorney, contact the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein today.

We partner with highly rated medical malpractice attorneys who work closely with our law firm to help get our clients the justice they deserve. By joining resources and experience, together we know how to hold medical professionals and their insurance companies responsible.

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