Hospital patients in Arizona may be surprised to learn that preventable medical errors are the third highest cause of death in the U.S. according to the "Journal of Patient Safety." Examining several recent studies, the article found that between 200,000 and 400,000 people die each year as a result of these errors.
Medical mistakes are not just costly in terms of the loss of human life and the emotional devastation faced by families. They also cost between $15 and $19 million annually in outpatient and inpatient care, prescription drugs and more.
The deaths have a number of causes including communication breakdowns among staff, organ injury during surgery, infections acquired at the facility, medication errors and diagnostic errors. Furthermore, doctors appear to be resistant to reporting some mistakes. Patients reported errors at a rate that was three times higher than what was reported in doctor charts. Cardiologists had the highest rate of errors that went unreported.
Preventable medical errors can range from missing a dose of medication to removing the wrong organ or limb. Even if a person survives a medical error, the outcome can be devastating and life-changing. A person who has suffered from a hospital error of this type may want to discuss their options with an attorney. A malpractice lawsuit may provide money to help pay for the person's care or for lost wages. It might also shed attention on a medical facility or provider that has a record of making errors. In other cases, a person might be offered an out-of-court settlement, and sometimes, this might be a way for a medical facility to avoid negative publicity. An attorney might be able to advise the best strategy depending on the circumstances of the error.