Shocking Statistics About the Medical Field and Mistakes

The medical field is already scary enough with all of the unknown elements that many patients face. When given a serious diagnosis that requires immediate attention, the patient’s imagination can run wild. What if the doctor makes a mistake? What if the diagnosis is incorrect? What if they prescribe the wrong medication? What if a surgeon’s hand slips and catastrophic results occur? It’s unfortunate, but the medical field is a complicated, uncomfortable and scary place for most people.

So now imagine the medical field when you know a few elements. For example consider the following startling figures:

  • Did you know that roughly 400,000 people die every year due to a medical error that could have been avoided? That makes it the third leading cause of death to people in the U.S.
  • What may be worse is that these mistakes may just be the tip of the iceberg. According to a study, about 58 percent of physicians said they either could not get other medical personnel to listen when they thought a mistake was made, or they were afraid of what would happen if they did report the error (and, thus, they did not report it).
  • The work atmosphere issues don’t end there: another study found that 92 percent of physicians made a medical decision that benefitted them more than it benefitted the patient. In other words, the physicians were afraid of being sued, so they may have made a less-than-helpful medical decision for the patient in order to protect themselves.

Source: Forbes, “Six Frightening Facts You Need To Know About Healthcare,” Robert J. Szczerba, Oct. 22, 2013