Are Medical Errors The Third Leading Cause Of Death In The United States?

May 18, 2014

For years, experts have estimated that medical errors impacted approximately 98,000 patients in in the United States each year. However, a new study suggests that medical mistakes may be far more common — roughly four times the original figure.

The latest research, which was published in the Journal of Patient Safety, predicts that preventable adverse events (PAEs) lead to as many as 440,000 patient deaths in U.S. hospitals each year. These new findings make medical errors the third leading cause of death in our country, behind heart disease and cancer.

As Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers, we are not completely surprised. One of the reasons medical errors are so prevalent is because they can take a variety of different forms, including:

  • Surgical errors. Examples include performing surgery on the wrong body part, failing to remove foreign objects from the body after surgery and improperly monitoring patients under anesthesia.
  • Birth injuries. Examples include misdiagnosing a pre-birth condition like preeclampsia, failing to order a timely cesarean section and improperly using forceps or other medical devices.
  • Misdiagnosis. Examples include misinterpreting test results, failing to acknowledge patient complaints and providing untimely treatment.
  • Failure to obtain informed consent. Examples include neglecting to properly explain the potential benefits, risks and alternatives involved in a medical procedure.
  • Medication errors. Examples include prescribing a wrong medication, failing to check for drug interactions or administering an incorrect dose.

Until hospitals can make medical care safer, victims of medical errors will continue to needlessly suffer. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys of Kardos, Rickles, Hand & Bidlingmaier provide knowledgeable and compassionate legal advice after a serious medical mistake. You can count on us to fully investigate your claim, hold the negligent parties responsible and obtain the compensation you deserve.