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Better Reporting is Needed to Accurately Estimate Medical Errors and Death Rates in the United States

medical malpractice reportingThere have been several reports released over the past few years that have cited medical errors as one of the leading causes of death in the United States. When you compare the number of hospital-based errors to national mortality in the United States alongside other causes of death monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you may be surprised to see variations of the facts. This is because plenty of deaths in the United States are not actually reported when they occur due to medical error or negligence.

Medical errors can lead to patient mortality. Currently, the annual list of the most common causes of death in the United States is compiled by the CDC. They use the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes on death certificates to help track that information and compile data for deaths in the country. Deaths that are caused by medical errors are not measured in this polling, because there is no ICD code for medical negligence or errors.

Are the Numbers Wrong?

In a recent article published by The Hospitalist, there were four studies cited. In those four studies on United States death rates, it was determined that the mean rate of death from medical errors was much higher than the actual rate of incidence published in the 1999 Institute of Medicine report. When that data was then compared to the CDC’s ranking, medical errors were found to be the third leading cause of death in the country.

While the accuracy of these reports is up for debate, the number highlights a growing issue in the country that needs to be addressed. Also, the report calls for a better measurement of the problem – since the ICD codes do not accurately reflect the number of patients that die due to medical errors or negligence. A simple solution to this would be to have an extra field on death certificates that specifically discuss if the patient’s death was preventable – and if that prevention stemmed from the patient’s medical care.

Common Medical Errors Can Lead to Death

There is not just one type of medical error that can be fatal. In fact, there are multiple errors that happen in the United States almost daily – and all have the potential for fatalities. Some of the more common errors that lead to patient deaths include:

  1. Prescription Errors
  2. Missed Diagnosis
  3. Delayed Diagnosis
  4. Surgical Errors
  5. Anesthesia Errors
  6. Wrong Site Operations
  7. Hospital Infections
  8. Drug Interactions or Side Effects
  9. Waking up During Surgery
  10. Birth Injuries
  11. Inappropriate Discharge
  12. Plastic Surgery Errors

Were You Injured Due to a Medical Error? Contact a Connecticut Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one was seriously injured because of a medical error, you may be entitled to compensation. You will need to explore your options by speaking with a medical malpractice attorney first. An attorney can assess your case, gather evidence, and help establish that negligence did occur. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.

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