Study Reveals That 5% of Patients Suffer Deadly Medical Errors

Medical errors are responsible for over 250,000 American fatalities each year. As a legal concept, “medical malpractice” encompasses any situation where a patient is harmed or killed by the actions, failures, or omissions of a medical professional. Unfortunately, statistics regarding acts of medical negligence are often inaccurate because providers are reluctant to disclose incidents that could lead to future litigation. That said, recent studies suggest that the actual estimation should be closer to 440,000 fatalities a year, making medical errors the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer.

A plaintiff may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim for the following scenarios and more:

  • Surgery performed on the wrong patient
  • Wrong-site surgeries
  • Improper transfusions
  • Birth injuries
  • Central-line associated bloodstream infections
  • Anesthesia injuries
  • Failing to diagnose or treat a condition
  • Pharmaceutical errors
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  • Misusing surgical instruments or equipment
  • Using contaminated or defective surgical tools
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia
  • Restraint-related injuries

But if there are over 400,000 fatalities each year, just how many injuries have gone unaddressed and unreported?

Medical Care & Preventable Injuries

According to a new study published in The BMJ, “Prevalence, severity, and nature of preventable patient harm across medical care settings: systematic review and meta-analysis,” at least 5% of all patients – approximately 1 out of 20 – are “affected by preventable patient harm in medical care settings.” The study also asserts that 12% of these cases result in permanent patient disability or death.

To complete this study, Dr. Maria Panagioti and her collaborators pooled data from 70 observational studies regarding medical errors and patient harm. These studies contained information on 337,025 patients who suffered preventable injuries while in the care of a medical provider. After meticulously analyzing this information, Dr. Panagioti was able to conclude that most medical errors are linked to prescription drugs, therapeutic management incidents, diagnosis mistakes, health care infections, and invasive surgical and medical procedures.

In a correspondence with NBC News, Dr. Panagioti explained, “We need strategies in place to detect and correct the key causes of patient harm in health care. Our study finds that most harm relates to medication, and this is one core area that preventative strategies could focus on.” However, experts claim that reducing medical errors on a facility-by-facility and/or national basis requires dedicated patient and staff engagement, managerial commitment, and facility upgrades.

Have You Suffered Harm While in the Care of Medical Professional?

Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Cullan & Cullan if you or a loved one has been harmed by the actions of a negligent health care provider. Unlike most firms, our skilled legal team has extensive medical training and, subsequently, a comprehensive understanding of both the legal and medical facets of a medical malpractice case. You can trust our team to meticulously investigate your case, calculate your claim’s maximum value, and do everything in our power to negotiate a settlement that reflects your legal and financial objectives. If the facility’s insurance provider refuses to negotiate, we are prepared to aggressively litigate on your behalf in court.

Contact Cullan & Cullan at (816) 253-8606 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.


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