A study published in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) has
medical errors are the third most common cause of death in the United States, causing approximately 251,000 deaths every year behind only heart disease
and cancer. That breaks down to about 700 preventable deaths per day throughout
Examples of medical errors include, but are not limited to:
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Causing accidental injury during surgery
- Failing to provide proper post-operative care
- Anesthesia errors
- Prescription errors
- Failure to diagnose a condition
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Incorrectly interpreting imaging and test results
- Ordering the wrong tests or failing to order tests
- Hospital-acquired infections due to lack of cleanliness
Currently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not
require reporting of medical errors in the data it collects about deaths
through billing codes. One of the co-authors of the study believes that
the CDC should update its reporting requirements so that physicians are
required to state whether there was any error that led to the death. The
CDC only requires that the doctor report a person’s underlying cause
of death, even if that condition wasn’t what really killed them.
For example, if a patient presented with symptoms of appendicitis but
the condition was misdiagnosed, leading to death caused by a delay in
needed care, the doctor could list the cause of death as appendicitis
or infection rather than the diagnostic error. Thus, medical errors remain
vastly underreported. Furthermore, these shortcomings in tracking hinder
research and keep the issue largely out of the public eye. Without the
attention of the public, improvements to patient safety are not likely
to be a priority.
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the actions (or inactions)
of a medical professional, contact a Honolulu medical malpractice attorney
at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner to discuss your legal options. You may
be entitled to compensation for your losses, including but not limited
to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Our team is prepared to investigate your case to determine whether you
have a viable wrongful death claim. Since 1971, we have recovered millions
of dollars in compensation for personal injury and medical malpractice
victims, and we may be able to help you make a recovery, too.
Call us today to
schedule a consultation: (808) 518-2120.