A study published in a peer-reviewed medical journal says that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death for Americans even though statistics record chronic respiratory disease in that position. One reason is that a billing code for medical errors does not exist, so deaths in New Hersey and around the country due to medical errors are attributed to other causes. Only cancer and heart disease are more deadly.
Researchers at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine examined death rate data to find that more than 9 percent of deaths were the result of medical error. More than 251,000 people die on an annual basis because of being given the wrong medication or the wrong diagnosis, as a result of medical neglect or because of other mistakes. However, many observers believe that the actual number is much higher.
One of the researchers says that in the past, the role of medical errors in patient deaths was not fully documented or explored. Now that awareness of it as a significant cause of death is on the rise, it is important that a conversation about improving patient safety take place.
People who feel that they or a loved one have been harmed as a result of a doctor error or one by another medical professional may want to consult an attorney. The mistake might be an error in labor and delivery, or it might involve dismissing a patient's medical concerns because they do not fit a typical demographic or presentation for a certain disease. Whatever the cause, if it appears that the medical professional or facility failed to observe the requisite standard of care, a medical malpractice lawsuit could be successful.