According to leading research from Johns Hopkins University, medical errors are actually the third leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the research, about 250,000 people die from medical errors every year in America, and this ranks ahead of many other more frequently discussed causes of death.
Medical Malpractice is Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.
The top five are listed below, according to 2015 data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Of course, the CDC does not actually list medical errors or malpractice. If it did, then it would be third on the list.
#1. Heart Disease – 633,842
#2. Cancer – 595,930
#3. Medical errors – 250,000
#4. Respiratory disease – 149,205
#5 . Accidents – 146,571
Notably, diabetes, stroke, suicide and Alzheimer’s disease all come far short of the amount of deaths attributable to medical malpractice. Interestingly, as U.S. News and World Reports points out, this means that with about 2.6 million Americans passing away each year, medical malpractice accounts for almost 10 percent of all deaths.
Most Common Types of Malpractice
While medical errors can be enormous or very subtle, there are some that simply seem to be more common than others.
- Missed Diagnosis
Perhaps the most common type of negligent medical care is simply the failure to identify a condition that requires urgent medical attention. When a medical provider fails to perform an adequate or appropriate diagnosis or fails to order the proper tests, thereby leaving a serious condition undiagnosed, it can lead to more serious illnesses or even death. Not all situations rise to the level of true medical malpractice, but may do.
- Labor and Delivery (Child birth)
Maybe it’s because of the highly sensitive nature of childbirth or the emotions involved, but Obstetrics and Gynecology does tend to be a specialty that involves a high degree of risk. In fact, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that although Obstetricians rank 12th in terms of total claims being filed against their insurance, they have the highest rate of insurance payouts. While one can read various interpretations into the data, the fact is that this seems to suggest more medical errors in general than a lot of other specialties.
- Medication Errors
Many times, medical errors don’t actually involve direct physician contact. Many times, nurse’s aides, and other hospital staff simply fail to dispense proper medications. Sometimes labels are misread, or improper doses are given. Something as simple as an incorrect dose can be deadly.
- Surgical Errors
Perhaps the most obvious type of malpractice, there have been horrible cases of sponges, syringes, and other surgical tools being left inside of patients. Just like a mechanical procedure, a mistake can cause damage. Unfortunately, surgical errors can quickly turn deadly.
- Anesthesia Errors
One area of negligence that people often do not consider is anesthesia. It can be a precise science to make sure a patient is properly anesthetized – too little, and the patient may feel pain; too little, and the patient may never wake up.
- Delays in Medical Care
Sometimes discussed in the same category as missed diagnosis, delayed care means putting off or postponing necessary care. A patient may present symptoms of a fatal condition. Failure to quickly identify the problem or perform the required tests can lead to a delay in getting care.
Charleston Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If your family has been affected by the devastation of serious medical malpractice, you should not be forced to wonder what happened. Often, it takes thousands of dollars just to gather the medical records in order to figure out whether malpractice was committed. At the David Aylor Law Offices, we can review your records and even consult with highly trained medical consultants who will help make sense of the injuries and give you and your family the answers you need.
But be careful, there are strict deadlines on filing a lawsuit for medical errors in South Carolina. Call or visit the firm online for a free consultation today.
David Aylor is a Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Charleston, Walterboro, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 11 years. David Aylor believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.