Medical errors cause record number of deaths in U.S.

A study shows that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America, and can cause severe injuries to innocent patients.

Thousands of Americans seek medical attention for various illnesses and conditions in the U.S. each day. While many physicians in Illinois are able to provide life-saving medical attention, a surprising number of medical errors take the lives of innocent people every year. According to Healthcare IT News, preventable medical mistakes take the lives of 400,000 people across the country each year. In fact, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., coming in behind heart disease and cancer. The article reported that at least 10,000 people across the country are seriously injured from medical errors each day, and many must live with the devastating effects of medical negligence.

Types of medical errors

There are a number of ways physicians and other medical professionals can make critical mistakes when it comes to caring for patients. A study released in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety reported the prevalence of physician misdiagnosis in the country. At least 12 million Americans are wrongfully diagnosed in emergency rooms and outpatient clinics each year. Approximately six million of those cases result in serious harm to the patient.

In addition to misdiagnosis, the most common medical mistakes include the following, according to a CNN News report:

  • Performing the wrong procedure on the wrong patient. Medical staff should always verify a patient's identity in order to avoid this preventable error.
  • Leaving surgical equipment inside a patient after a procedure. Although OR staff is required to perform an equipment count before and after all procedures, some items may be left behind.
  • Doctors practicing with a fake or expired license. Patients should always research the physician to ensure they are licensed and registered.
  • Operating on the patient's wrong body part. Doctors should use surgical pens to indicate the proper operating site before putting the patient under.
  • Failure to use proper aseptic technique, leading to serious infections. Bacteria and viruses can easily be carried from one patient to the other.
  • Long emergency room wait times may cause fast-spreading viruses and other critical conditions to worsen.

Miscommunication and poor training can also lead to catastrophic medical injuries. A small baby with a chest tube in her vein and feeding tube in her stomach died when a nurse administered medication into the wrong tube. Rather than put the medication in the child's feeding tube, the nurse pumped it into the baby's chest tube, according to a CNN News report.

Partnering with an attorney

Trusted medical professionals who make preventable mistakes should be held accountable for their negligent actions. A medical malpractice attorney in Illinois may be helpful in organizing a case that will yield maximum compensation for your injuries. An established lawyer will also walk you through the complicated legal process.

Keywords: malpractice, injury, medical, error