Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compile a list of the most common causes of death in the U.S. The CDC does not include deaths caused by doctor and hospital mistakes on this list. A surgeon who recognized this important omission led a Johns Hopkins study that took deaths caused by medical error into account.
The results of the study, published by the BMJ in May 2016, showed doctor and hospital mistakes and other medical errors as the country’s third leading cause of death. Heart disease and cancer were the only causes that outranked medical error. (The study based its conclusions on statistics from several different studies of patient deaths.)
The study estimates that medical mistakes cause as many as 251,000 deaths to hospital in-patients every year, or an average of 700 per day. While not a part of the Johns Hopkins study, some researchers have estimated that serious but non-fatal injuries caused by medical malpractice amount to more than 40 times the number of deaths caused by medical error.
These statistics are both astounding and frightening. This is particularly so when you consider the extreme level of trust a patient must place in a health care provider when submitting to the provider’s care.
Deadly Doctor and Hospital Mistakes
Deadly doctor and hospital mistakes and other instances of medical negligence can range from medication errors to botched surgeries. A wide variety of medical errors can lead to patients’ deaths, whether committed in hospital, surgical, clinical, or laboratory settings. Some of the many examples of medical negligence responsible for patients’ deaths include:
- unsanitary hospital and surgery conditions leading to fatal infections
- giving a patient the wrong medicine or the incorrect dose of a medicine
- errors made in giving a patient anesthesia or oxygen
- misunderstandings among doctors and other medical staff regarding crucial patient information
- careless administration of dialysis treatments for kidney (renal) disease or failure
- misreading or misinterpreting diagnostic tests or ordering the wrong tests
- negligent delays in needed medical treatment
- incorrect or delayed diagnoses of illnesses or diseases
- unnecessary surgeries that lead to preventable infections, other injuries, and death
- inadequate staff and protocols in ICU and ER settings
In these cases and more, the hospital or surgical center as an independent entity may be liable under medical malpractice law for a patient’s injury or death. These entities can also be responsible for injuries and deaths caused by the malpractice of medical staff under their control or employment. Courts in medical negligence lawsuits may also order individual medical professionals to compensate for a patient’s injury or death.
Contact Feldman & Pinto’s Medical Mistakes Attorneys
Our medical negligence (medical malpractice) lawyers have been achieving justice for patients injured or killed by doctor and hospital mistakes and medical errors since 1994. If you were injured or one of your family members died in this manner, please contact us for a free evaluation of your case.