Most people have a lot of trust in their doctor and the medical professionals who support them. Yet, the truth of the matter is that medical malpractice is far more common than many people realize. In fact, some studies have shown that more than 200,000 people die each year due to medical errors. This equates to approximately 10% of all deaths. Hundreds of thousands of more people suffer serious injuries caused by medical malpractice. This is tragic and unacceptable.
How medical malpractice occurs
Medical malpractice can touch just about every aspect of health care. Here are some of the most common ways in which medical malpractice occurs:
- Misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses: In far too many instances, doctors miss symptoms of certain medical conditions, which lead them to neglect testing that could provide an accurate diagnosis. In other instances, they order the proper tests but results are not received, or they are misinterpreted. That may seem hard to believe, but the fact is that some estimate that as many as 12 million misdiagnoses occur each year in the United States. This results in more than 100,000 people either dying or becoming permanently disabled. Vascular issues, cancer, and infections are amongst the most misdiagnosed conditions.
- Surgical errors: You would think that surgical operations would be carried out with precision, but this simply isn’t the case. More than 4,000 surgical errors occur each year, with many of them resulting in death or serious harm. These mistakes may include leaving a surgical instrument inside of a patient or performing the wrong surgery. Sometimes operations are conducted on the wrong body part, or an unnecessary surgery in performed for profit. All of these errors are unacceptable and can leave victims and their families with extensive losses.
- Medication errors: Medication errors are common, too. Improper administration of anesthesia, for example, can prove fatal, and giving the wrong dosage of a seeming innocuous drug can prove harmful.
Why medical malpractice occurs
There are many contributing factors to medical malpractice. Many doctors are simply burned out due to the extensive use of electronic medical records, data entry requirements, and increased patient demand. This limits their face-to-face time with patients, reduces their attention, and can therefore lead to mistakes. Other medical professionals simply lack appropriate training or are acing recklessly as they perform their job duties. Regardless of the cause, medical malpractice is preventable, which is why errant medical professionals need to be held accountable for the harm that they cause.
What can you do?
Although medical malpractice is exceedingly common, very few victims end up pursuing legal action. Yet, taking legal action against a negligent medical professional is the best way to find accountability and recover the compensation that you need to offset your damages.
Therefore, if you’ve been hurt by a medical error, then you may want to start gathering evidence to support a medical malpractice claim. This evidence will certainly include your medical records, but you should also start taking note of what medical professionals have told you and how your injuries have affected you on a daily basis. You may also need to speak to an expert who can help you better understand what happened to you and where your doctor went wrong.