Back in 1999, approximately 98,000 Americans were dying each year due to preventable errors made in hospitals. At the time, the news made plenty of headlines and people called for new policies and action to decrease that number.
However, just the opposite has happened. A new study released by the Journal of Patient Safety found that over four times that number of patients, or up to 440,000, now die from preventable medical hospitals.
Part of the reason for the finding lies in the new research methods used to find errors and cause of death. New innovations from Dr. David Classen and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement among others allow us to find out more about these errors.
With this new information, medical errors more up to the third leading cause of death in the United States, leaping over car accidents and only behind cancer and heart disease. Leaders in the field of patient safety believe that this number is closer to reality than the smaller number from 1999, and should be treated as the best estimate.
When a patient dies due to a medical error, it means that they are not dying from the ailment that caused them to seek treatment initially. Rather, the pateints are dying from causes that proper treatment while in the hospital could have prevented. These errors vary greatly, and can be anything from improper dosage of medication to sponges left inside of patients during surgery to infections cause by the use of contaminated equipment. Over one thousand of Americans are dying each day due to these simple mistakes.
Compounding the problem, the costs of these mistakes are paid for by the taxpayers. When a hospital makes a mistake, the extra cost associated with it is shifted onto the taxpayers or businesses that pay for their healthcare. The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study on these costs and found that for every employee who had an infection following surgery the employer paid $39,000 extra.
Of course, leaders in the hospital injury say that it is very hard to reduce the number of medical errors due to the complexity of their operations. The best way to prevent errors is to have every employee of the hospital strictly abide by the rules, and to have all systems function correctly.
And, the leaders are right. However, that does not excuse the high number of errors that occur due to negligence. Many studies have been conducted, and findings have shown there are many strategies that could go a long way toward reducing this number. It has also been found that when hospitals make safety a priority and use these strategies, medical errors decrease. The opposite has found to be true as well. There is no excuse for this high number of medical errors to still be occurring.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a medical error or other medical malpractice it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Parker Scheer LLP at 886-414-0400 today.