Unfortunately, Medical Negligence Plagues the United States
Medical negligence continues to be a problem in the United States — even in 2020. Although medical technology and standards have come a long way, mistakes happen that carry devastating consequences. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in our country, highlighting how serious an issue it is. According to a recent John Hopkins report, an estimated 250,000 to 400,000 people die every year from medical errors. To some, this comes as a surprise. But others are all-too familiar with the repercussions of medical negligence. This topic has been in the news a lot as of late and for a good reason. In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of people who leave the care of a medical professional worse than when they went in.
When you are sick or suffer an injury, it’s natural to turn to trusted medical professionals for help. You assume they have your best interests in mind and will do everything possible to solve whatever problem you are facing. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. There are numerous circumstances where medical professionals wind up doing more harm than good for patients. If you find yourself in a situation where a doctor or other healthcare professional made a mistake or acted negligently, resulting in injury or death, contact Rad Law Firm today. Our experienced Fort Worth medical malpractice lawyers understand how sensitive these cases can be and will do everything we can to help you.
Today, we will go over how medical malpractice is defined, what some of the most common causes of misconduct are, and what you need to know about pursuing a lawsuit. As always, if you have any questions or are unsure about your rights, give us a call.
What is Medical Negligence?
Before we go any further, let’s define medical negligence. Often used synonymously with medical malpractice, medical negligence is: “An act or omission (failure to act) by a medical professional that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care.” One of the easiest ways to understand it is that if a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider did not meet the standard duty of care that another similarly qualified doctor would, they may be held liable. When providers give substandard care to patients, and it results in injury or death, they can be held accountable.
Individuals who are the victim of medical malpractice have rights and may be able to file a lawsuit. However, medical negligence cases are often challenging to put it lightly. Proving negligence is difficult in any case, especially when a doctor or hospital is involved. Another critical point we must make is that medical malpractice laws only apply to licensed and trained healthcare professionals. So, if you were injured by a Good Samaritan or another individual who claims to have medical experience, you may not be able to take legal action.
Finally, medical errors are usually preventable, which is why lawsuits are so common. Unlike heart disease and cancer (the two leading causes of death in America ahead of malpractice), medical mistakes are avoidable.
Facts About Medical Malpractice
To help you understand how devastating medical malpractice can be, let’s go over some facts:
- 80,000 to 100,000 deaths every year in the U.S. happen because of a diagnosis error (34.1 percent of malpractice claims)
- Nearly 200,000 patients die in hospitals every year due to preventable mistakes
- 45 percent of medical malpractice claims are inpatient (38 percent are outpatient)
- 23 percent of malpractice claims are due to surgical errors
- In 2018, plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits were paid approximately $4.1 billion
- The average medical malpractice payout in 2018 was $348,065
- Almost 30 percent of malpractice claims resulted in death, and 18.7 percent caused permanent disability or injury
- 95 percent of all malpractice claims settle out of court
- New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have the highest medical malpractice payouts
- Texas has one of the lowest payouts, alongside North Dakota, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Indiana
These facts and statistics should show the ramifications of medical malpractice and why it is such a concern in the U.S. If you have questions about the above or believe you have a case of negligence, contact Rad Law Firm today.
Top Causes of Medical Negligence
Now that we know what medical malpractice is, let’s look at the most common causes:
- Failure to diagnose or inadequate diagnosis – If a doctor or other healthcare provider fails to diagnose you or misdiagnoses your condition, the results can be sobering. Often, doctors order unnecessary treatments and tests, prescribe dangerous medications, and completely miss the mark with their assessment of symptoms.
- Surgical errors – Errors or mistakes of any kind made during surgery can have insurmountable consequences. For example, a surgeon may leave a foreign object in a patient after operation or may use the wrong techniques.
- Anesthesia errors – Similar to the above, if a doctor gives you too much or too little anesthesia before surgery, it could be extremely harmful. Other examples of anesthesia errors include the medical provider failing to monitor your vital signs during surgery or using a drug the patient was allergic to.
- Failure to obtain consent – Before a medical professional can move forward with surgery or any other treatment plan, they must obtain permission. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. If your doctor treats your symptoms against your will or without giving you the information necessary to make an informed decision, they must be held accountable.
- Medication errors – If you are given the wrong drug, the incorrect dosage information, or a dangerous combination of drugs, it could result in serious harm to the patient.
Other examples of medical negligence include:
- Childbirth injuries
- Cosmetic/plastic surgery errors
- Pharmacy errors
- Nursing errors
- Refusal to administer treatment
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Wrongful amputation
If you think you have a medical malpractice case, contact Rad Law Firm today and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.