According to a new federal government report, 50,000 deaths from hospital mistakes across the United States were prevented between the years 2010 and 2013. Researchers concluded approximately 1.3 million fewer patients experienced health complications caused by hospitals, or about a 17 percent drop since 2010.
It’s hard to pinpoint reasons for the drop, but it is good news. Yet the fact remains: too many people continue to suffer from preventable physician errors and much work remains to further reduce their numbers.
Medical Error Affects One in Four People
For example, another recent study – this one from the Harvard School of Public Health – showed that in the last five years about one out of every four people in Massachusetts experienced a medical mistake or knows someone who was hurt by a medical error. Unfortunately, the study also found that many of those harmed did not report the mistake because they didn’t know how to or didn’t think it would amount to anything.
Surgical Errors Remain High
Another recent research effort, conducted by RAND Health, classified the number of serious surgical errors today as “unacceptably high.” RAND Health is one of the world’s largest independent health researchers.
And last year, one study claimed that as many as 440,000 hospital patients die each year in the United States due to a preventable medical error. A commonly accepted previous estimate was 98,000 each year.
So the direction of medical errors may not be clear-cut. Even if deaths from medical malpractice are decreasing, they remain a serious threat. And if they’re not reported, hospitals and health practitioners may repeat their catastrophic mistakes.
If a family member died or suffered catastrophic harm due to a medical error, you may want to consult an attorney who handles medical malpractice investigations to pursue just compensation for your tragic loss as well as help stop preventable errors from being made in the future.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.