Medical Errors Are One of the Leading Causes of Death in the US
Heart disease. Auto accidents. Cancer. We think of these all-too-common occurrences as the greatest risks to our health and future. While these may be some of the biggest killers for us to fear, a shocking 251,000 people die as a result of medical errors in the United States every year. According to a recent study published by the National Center for Health Statistics posted by The Washington Post, this statistic makes medical errors the third leading cause of death in America, falling behind only heart disease and cancer. Though we are usually correct to rely on our doctor’s training, experience, and expertise to keep us safe and healthy, there are a lot of things you can do to help ensure that you are selecting your doctors carefully and thus preventing possible errors.Common Types of Medical Errors
Medical misdiagnosis and procedural error can cost a person their life or result in catastrophic injury that requires lifetime treatment, placing a substantial burden on the surviving family, including the possible the loss of a loved one. Though errors can occur at all stages of medical care from the diagnosis through recovery, some of the primary events leading to medical error include:
- Medication quantity mistakes;
- Medication prescription mistakes;
- Anesthesia overdose;
- Lack of oxygen;
- Unrecognized surgical complications;
- Infection resulting from improperly sterilized medical equipment;
- Surgical errors from unnecessary medical procedures; and
- Unnecessary treatments.
While any of these errors alone could cost someone their life, it is a combination of all of them that has made medical errors such a common cause of death in the United States. When a person is injured at the hands of a doctor, the legal remedy is to provide monetary damages to the individual, or the family in the event of death. This compensation is designed to account for the possible lost income, loss of enjoyment of life if the individual is catastrophically injured, current and future medical expenses, and support for the family, depending on whether a death or injury occurs. While no amount of money can rectify the impact of a medical error on your family, filing a legal claim helps bring justice to those that are responsible for harming your loved one and ensures that other people learn from their mistakes so they will not happen again.Tips for Avoiding Medical Errors
Absent true emergency situations, you have a say in who your healthcare providers are. Most insurance websites now will allow you numerous options to choose from, whether you are looking “in” or “out” of your provider network. While it is the doctors and hospitals that have the ultimate responsibility, there are some simple tips you can employ to limit the possibility of error and ensure you are participating as much as possible in your medical treatment.
- Get a second opinion, or even a third. With the technology available to patients today, there is no reason to not take the time to find another doctor if you are hesitant or uncomfortable with your physician’s plan of action. There are many online forums where people rate their experiences with doctors and while reviews are often skewed with people with extremely good and tremendously bad experiences only, it still may give you a baseline in making a decision.
- Research your medical treatment options through reputable medical journals and forums. A good doctor may even be able to direct you toward appropriate and reliable resources to help you make informed decisions about your options.
- Ask questions. Is the nurse giving you a medication you don’t remember having before? Ask what it is for—asking questions ensures people are double checking your chart and avoiding errors before they happen.
By staying as active as possible during the course of your medical treatment, you greatly decrease the possibility of an error occuring. Ask questions, conduct due diligence in your research, and make your decisions as informed as possible.Contact a San Jose Medical Error Attorney Today
At Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., we understand the significant impact a medical error can have on your family’s life. We do not believe that avoidable medical errors are acceptable and our team of experienced California medical malpractice attorneys will work hard to ensure those responsible are brought to justice. We will work hard with the victims and their families to learn about their legal rights and aim to resolve the case as expeditiously as possible with the best result. To learn more about how we can help your family recover from a medical error, contact our San Jose surgical error attorneys today to learn more.