Medical Mistakes a Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

According to the Journal of Patient Safety, recent studies indicate that medical errors account for between 200,000 and 400,000 annual patient deaths in U.S. hospitals, with some of them occurring in Connecticut facilities. An equally large number of patients who are released from the hospital later succumb to these mistakes.

Studies show that common medical errors include medication mistakes, hospital-acquired infections, omissions in treatment, communication lapses between medical professionals, wrong-site surgeries, diagnostic errors, blood clots, nerve or blood vessel injuries, surgical errors leading to organ injuries and wound infections. Not only do these medical mistakes cause devastating emotional losses to the families involved, but they also cause staggering financial losses. It is estimated that medical errors cost up to $19 billion each year in ancillary services, in-patient and out-patient care, prescription drug services and other medical costs.

One study found that there is a discrepancy between the number of adverse medical events patients report and the number that doctors report, with patients claiming three times as many preventable medical errors than appear in their medical histories. Researchers discovered that many physicians fail to document serious medical mistakes and that cardiologists were among the worst offenders of those who refused to report errors.

Surgical errors and other medical mistakes can leave patients in a far worsened condition and can often require significant additional and expensive medical care and treatment. Patients who have been the victims of this type of hospital negligence may want to discuss their options with a medical malpractice attorney.

Source: National Law Review, “Medical Errors in Hospitals are Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.,” Edward S. Shensky, Feb. 3, 2016