• Personal Injury
  • Auto Accidents
  • Wrongful Death

Medical Mistakes the 3rd Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

Medical Mistakes

Medical mistakes are a much larger issue than many people realize. According to a study published by the Journal of Patient Safety, it is estimated that between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans lose their lives to medical errors each year. Alarmingly, this makes medical mistakes, (errors by doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals) the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer cause more annual deaths.

While hospitals and other health care facilities are making advances in identifying and correcting errors that cause patient fatalities, safety esperts suggest that progress is still too slow. According to Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog– an independent agency that assigns hospital safety scores to approximately 2,500 general hospitals throughout the United States, “We are burying a population the size of Miami every year from medical errors that can be prevented.” Key findings of their 2013 study revealed that:

  • With the exception of the use of Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) being implemented, hospitals have shown no improvement in their reported performance evaluated in the scores. The increasing adoption of CPOE, however, reveals that federal efforts to improve safety technology in U.S. hospitals has been somewhat successful.
  • Of the 2,539 hospitals throughout the nation that were evaluated, only 813 scored an ‘A’, while 661 received a ‘B’, 893 scored a ‘C’, 150 earned a ‘D’ and the remaining 22 received a ‘F’.
  • Only approximately 3.5 percent of hospitals demonstrated significant improvements which moved their positions 2 or more score levels.
  • Of the 117 Illinois hospitals that were scored, only 43.6 percent (51) received an ‘A’.
  • Each year, 1 out of every 25 patients develops a preventable infection while in the hospital.
  • Approximately 1,000 individuals lose their lives to hospital errors each day.

 

Reducing the Risk for Wrongful Death Caused from Hospital Errors

Fortunately, there are a number of things patients and their families can do to reduce the risk of these deadly errors. Individuals should:

  • Be informed about their condition or that of their loved one.
  • Inform health care providers of any allergies. Be sure to include allergies to medications, foods, and other products (latex, etc.) that the patient may come into contact with.
  • Have a family member or other loved one on hand to take notes and be prepared to step in if issues arise.
  • Report any concerns to health care professionals or onsite counselors as soon as possible.