Medical Error and Misconduct May be More Common Than You Think

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New Study Shows That About 20% of Americans are Victims of Medical Mistakes

Not all medical errors result in serious injuries. Many situations in which a medical mistake is made also involve a physician or nurse recognizing the error and correcting it before a patient can suffer harm. At the same time, very often medical misconduct does lead to serious and sometimes fatal patient injuries. According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, about one out of every five people are victims of medical mistakes, malpractice, or negligence. As those researchers emphasize, “medical errors by healthcare professionals don’t just put a patient’s physical health at risk, [but] they can be equally damaging to a person’s mental state and financial well-being.”

The authors of the study surveyed more than 2,500 adults in the U.S. about their personal experiences with medical misconduct and errors, as well as their knowledge of medical errors affecting friends and family members. If you or a loved one has experienced some form of medical malpractice or negligence, contact a medical malpractice lawyer.

One of the most common places where medical malpractice and negligence occur is at ambulatory sites. As an article in Modern Healthcare explains, the term “ambulatory sites” refers to many different types of medical centers that serve outpatient needs. In other words, ambulatory sites are places where people can seek medical attention for nearly all needs that do not require hospitalization. Of the patients surveyed in the recent University of Chicago study, more than 20% had themselves been the victim of a medical mistake, while more than 30% “acknowledged someone else whose care they were closely involved [with] had been a victim.”

Some of the most common types of medical errors include those relating to doctor negligence, like diagnostic errors, as well as those “related to patient-provider communications.” The study emphasizes that medical misconduct and mistakes may happen even more often than we believe—even if they do not lead to serious harm. In addition, the authors of the study determined that only around 50% of patients who do experience a medical mistake actually report it to the facility or take subsequent action. It’s important to discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney if you believe you’re a victim of a medical error.

Common Medical Mistakes That Cause Patient Injuries

Medical errors can take many different forms. Sometimes  medical misconduct is a result of doctor or hospital negligence, which happens when a healthcare provider does something he or she should not have done, while sometimes a medical mistake occurs when a healthcare provider fails to take action. According to an article in Psychology Today, the following are 10 of the most common medical mistakes that happen in the hospital setting and therefore may constitute hospital negligence:

  • Misdiagnosis, which is a type of diagnostic error;
  • Unnecessary treatment, which can also be a diagnostic error or another type of mistake;
  • Undergoing unnecessary medical tests and procedures;
  • Medication errors;
  • “Never events,” which refers to some of the most egregious errors that should never happen but when they do, they often lead to a patient’s death or life-long disability;
  • Uncoordinated healthcare, or the inability to be treated by your regular doctor at the hospital;
  • Hospital-acquired infections;
  • Injuries from malfunctioning medical devices;
  • Missed warning signs that a patient needs immediate care; and
  • Hospital discharges before the patient is ready.

If you or a loved one was injured as a result of  medical misconduct, you should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer about your case.

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