Hospital Mistakes are the Third Leading Cause of Death in America

September 25, 2013

Between 210,000 and 440,000 People Die Each Year Due to Preventable Hospital Mistakes

Hospital Mistakes - Philadelphia Medical Malpractice LawyerWe have written before that Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuits have decreased. We have written before about the numbers of people who die every year due to medical malpractice. You would think that if medical malpractice lawsuits are down, it would mean hospital mistakes are down too. But the opposite is true. And we are not talking small injuries. We are talking life changing, serious harm to patients who go to a hospital for help and come out badly hurt, or don’t come out at all. Currently, preventable hospital mistakes are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.

Medical Malpractice Deaths in Hospitals are Increasing

In 1999, a report came out stating that up to 98,000 people per year were dying due to mistakes in hospitals. In 2010, 180,000 Medicare patients died due to errors in hospitals. That is only Medicare patients mind you. It gets worse. A new report states that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients suffer some kind of preventable hospital mistake that leads to death.

These numbers are horrifying. And they are unacceptable. People are dying due to foolish, preventable errors. Hospitals and doctors simply need to be more careful. And patients need to make sure they stand up for themselves and communicate with their doctors.

Why are People Getting Hurt in Hospitals?

The report notes that injuries caused by hospital mistakes have certain broad causes:

  1. Harming a patient by providing a treatment that is wrong or handling a treatment badly.
  2. Failing to treat a patient based on what is found to be wrong with the patient. For example, failing to diagnose breast cancer.
  3. Failing to communicate properly with the patient or other medical professionals.
  4. Not understanding a patient’s needs. For example, a patient who is not capable of following through on a certain medical plan.
  5. Failure to diagnose an illness, resulting in delayed treatment, the wrong treatment or no treatment at all.

What these all come down to is that there is a standard of care for medical treatment. And in many of these mistakes, the doctors, hospitals and nurses are not following that standard.

How you Can Protect Yourself

There are a number of ways you can protect yourself.

  • Speak up. Make certain that you go over your medical history with your doctor. Don’t assume that a different facility or department has all of your records. Double check.
  • When someone brings you medicine, ask what it is for. Check the dosage and make certain it is something you are supposed to be on. If you are about to go on surgery, find out what medicine you shouldn’t have beforehand.
  • Are there things you can and cannot do? Will you be able to follow the treatment plan? Tell the doctor.
  • If you cannot speak up for yourself ask a friend or family member. If you have a family member in the hospital, speak up for him.
  • Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.

Be informed and active in your own medical care. Don’t let a hospital mistake hurt you or a loved one.

Suffered a Preventable Injury in a Hospital?

If you or a family member suffered a mistake in a hospital and were seriously injured as a result, please contact our hospital injury lawyers in Pennsylvania. There is no fee to call us and we will give you our honest opinion of your case.



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