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Preventable Deaths in the Healthcare Industry

By Paul da Costa on July 29, 2014


When you or a loved one becomes seriously ill, you often turn to doctors and hospitals for help.  We think that modern medicine will be able to save our loved ones, or ourselves, from further complications, disability, or even death.  However, this is not always the case.

According to a recent article, the current GM ignition switch problem and its resulting death toll, which we have previously blogged about, has sparked a discussion about preventable death in the United States.  In addition, a U.S. Senate hearing on health care dubbed, “More than 1,000 preventable deaths a day is too many: The need to improve patient safety,” has been criticized by health care professionals as drastically downplaying the issue.  The issue is the fact that an alarming number of Americans are dying in hospitals, or after release, because of medical error.

A study conducted 15 years ago concluded that approximately 100,000 patients die annually from a medical professionals’ mistakes.  Other research has estimated that the number of deaths is actually closer to 440,000 per year, if those individuals who die outside of hospitals from misdiagnosis or prescriptions are included in the count.  The government has concluded that nearly 13.5% of Medicare recipients are injured while in the hospital causing an extended stay, permanent injury, or death. 

Major reasons for this problem include a lack of focus on prevention and financial motives that lead to excess medical treatments.  Other problems include misdiagnosis, mistakes made during surgery, or infection caused by hospital staff.  Medical professionals have pointed out that mistakes made in hospitals are simple and no patient, not even the richest man in the world, can prevent such mistakes.  Professionals have pointed out that patients need an advocacy group – people who can work to effect change within the health care system.  In addition, better data regarding individual hospital performance, as well as consequences for failing to meet a specific safety standard, is needed to help keep patients safe.

Medical mistakes happen every day.  If you or a loved one has suffered harm because of a medical professional’s error, you may have a medical malpractice claim.  Contact the experienced attorneys at Snyder & Sarno, LLC to help you get compensation for your injuries.  Call us today at (973) 274-5200.  

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