Medical Mistakes Are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the USMay 18, 2018
According to a recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, medical errors cause over 250,000 deaths each year in the United States, and other research suggests that the statistics could be as high as 440,000. The discrepancy is due to the fact that medical errors are not generally specified on death certificates by physicians, funeral directors, coroners, or medical examiners. However, this is the information that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses to record national death statistics. Authors of the study have urged the CDC to change the way it collects data to include medical errors.
According to the study, it is the system that is to blame. Medical errors can be caused by inexperienced staff, errors in judgement, system defects, technical problems, dosing errors, and surgical complications that a healthcare professional may fail to diagnose. The CDC’s current deaths collection system does not consider medical errors. Yet a patient-care study revealed that 9.5 percent of all fatalities were caused by medical mistakes. Over the past two years, these numbers have not improved, according to the study.
Initiatives to Improve Patient Safety
To improve patient safety and reduce the number of medical mistakes, many hospitals are taking advantage of health information technology, including electronic health records for hospitalized and ambulatory patients. A growing number of physicians’ offices are now using electronic health records. Many are also recording conversations between patients and doctors to avoid confusion or mistakes.
Steps Patients Can Take to Protect Themselves
Patients’ Rights advocates offer the following suggestions:
- Get a Second Opinion: If you have questions or are uncertain about your diagnosis or the recommended treatment, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion. A good doctor will not discourage you from doing so, and will welcome the opinion of another medical professional.
- Download an App: There are healthcare apps available that allow you to access your medical information easily and manage your medications, appointments, and more.
- Bring someone you trust to your appointment. It can be difficult to process information when you are feeling overwhelmed or scared. A friend or family member can be your advocate and ask questions that you may not think to ask.
- Be Your Own Health Advocate: Do not be afraid to ask questions about the benefits, side effects, and disadvantages of a medication or procedure. Research your condition and compile a list of questions and concerns to discuss with your doctor.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Medical Errors
If your health or safety has been compromised as a result of a medical error made by your healthcare professional, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. Our skilled and experienced team will determine who is responsible for the medical mistake and hold them accountable for their actions. We will aggressively pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve, ensuring that your legal rights are protected at all times. We will not stop fighting for you until justice has been served. To schedule a free-confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.