Unreported Medical Errors More Common Than You May Think

st louis medical malpractice attorney

If you have been a victim of a medical error, you’re not alone.  A new survey reports that two out of every 10 Americans have suffered an error in medical treatment.  And most of the victims weren’t told of the mistake by their caregivers.

Just over 2,500 people were surveyed earlier this year in a patient safety study conducted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement/National Patient Safety Foundation and a research group at the University of Chicago.  The effort was designed to measure the public’s perception of patient safety in the United States as well as document personal experiences with medical errors.

When asked about medical errors, 21 percent of the respondents reported that they at some time experienced a mistake during their medical care. Thirty-one percent related they were personally involved with someone else undergoing medical care and that individual suffered an error in treatment.  Combining these two groups, 41 percent of those surveyed had experience with a medical mistake.

Misdiagnosis Most Common Type of Medical Error

Those surveyed provided a broad range of medical errors they experienced first or second-hand. Far and away the most frequent type of medical mistake involved patient diagnosis.  More than half – 59 percent – reported a misdiagnosis, a delay in the proper diagnosis, or a medical condition that was not diagnosed at all.

Other top medical errors reported in the survey included surgical errors, wrong follow-up care instructions, and incorrect medication dosages.

Just about half of those patients who experienced a medical mistake said they or someone else reported the error.  The majority explained their reason for doing so was to prevent the error from happening to anyone else.

Most Patients Aren’t Told of Medical Mistake

More telling, 67 percent of the patients said neither their health care provider nor anyone else at the treatment facility ever told them of the mistake. In a quarter of all the medical error cases, the physicians or facilities denied responsibility.  Eighteen percent of the doctors/hospitals refused to even apologize.

Experiencing poor medical care is bad enough, as the consequences can be long-lasting and life-altering.  The mistakes and harmful outcomes should not be compounded by attempted cover-ups and selfish behavior by those who made the error.

If you suffered severe harm or had a family member die during medical treatment, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to determine the truth and pursue just compensation on your behalf.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog October 18, 2017