A study was recently released in the British Medical Journal addressing the role of medical errors in deaths occurring in the United States. Ultimately, the recent study concluded that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. The study is available online and has been the subject of several news articles. Previously, a 1999 Institute of Medicine report served as the most commonly cited estimate of the number of annual deaths from medical errors in the United States. However, at least one subsequent study suggested that the report’s conclusion regarding the estimated number of deaths was too low. A Professor of Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine sought to better analyze the causal link between medical errors and United States deaths.
The study concluded that preventable deaths related to medical errors were outpaced by heart disease and cancer, but contributed to more deaths than the following:
- Respiratory disease
- Kidney Disease
The article hopes to further the discussion with respect to reducing the number of preventable mistakes including communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment, and inadequate skill on behalf of medical professionals that can directly result in patient harm and death. The study focused on preventable deadly events in an effort to highlight the potential for improvement.
Ultimately, the study highlights the prevalence of preventable medical errors and related catastrophic losses. Nate Dahl and the attorneys at Hansen, Dordell have significant experience representing plaintiffs in a wide variety of medical malpractice claims. Those claims can include the failure to exercise proper care in complex matters involving neurosurgery and brain injuries. Sadly, those attorneys have also worked with plaintiffs in claims that appeared to involve blatant medical malpractice such as failure to review imaging and laboratory studies, failure to remove surgical instruments during surgery, and neglecting to rule out seemingly obvious explanations for patient complaints resulting in catastrophic losses. The study reinforces the notion that patients and their families need to be vigilant in undergoing medical care. The attorneys at Hansen, Dordell can provide assistance with respect to discerning between unavoidable injuries and catastrophic losses that could have been prevented with proper medical care.
In 2016, Hansen Dordell is celebrating 70 years of excellence. Founded in 1946, the firm’s reputation for innovation, civility, and integrity endures to the present day. We thank our attorneys and our clients for their dedication and trust, and look forward to many more years of service.