Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to a study by Johns Hopkins. This information should cause concern for anyone who may need medical care in the future. The startling study sheds light on the mistakes made by healthcare professionals that result in the wrongful deaths of many patients each year.
What Did The Research Show?
Researchers analyzed data for medical death rates over an eight-year period. After reviewing the data, patient safety experts concluded that over 250,000 deaths each year are the result of medical errors. The study, published in The BMJ, revealed that medical errors surpass respiratory disease as the third leading cause of death in the United States.
According to the study, there is not a classification for medical errors as a cause of death on a death certificate. Up to this point, medical errors haven’t been included as a reason for death in any method for the collection of national statistics. This has resulted in medical errors being excluded from national health statistics.
The top causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, are:
- Heart disease
- Chronic respiratory disease
After reviewing the data from four separate studies from 2000 through 2008, the researchers deduced that almost 251,500 deaths were the result of medical errors. This represented approximately 9.5 percent of all deaths each year, thereby placing medical errors as the third leading cause of death above chronic respiratory disease.
Because the top causes of death receive funding for research and become priorities for public health professionals, it is important to ensure that all leading causes of death are included in the list — including medical errors.
Why Medical Errors Happen
A medical error isn’t necessarily an indication of a bad doctor, but of a system that needs to be improved. This includes the absence of safety precautions, lack of protocols, and poorly coordinated patient care. It may also indicate problems with insurance networks, which can delay treatment.
Variations in health care lead to inadequate treatment and more medical errors. When protocols are developed, they streamline the process of medical care to reduce variations while improving the quality of care and reducing the cost of medical care.
More research is needed to understand and fix the problem of wrongful deaths due to medical errors. Until medical errors are listed separately on death certificates and included in national health statistics, this issue won’t receive the funding or the attention it deserves to prevent similar situations in the future.
Legal Help for Medical Malpractice Claims
While medical errors may be unintentional, some errors result in the loss of life. The grief and emotional pain suffered by the family of a medical malpractice victim far outweighs the medical and funeral expenses the family must bear or the loss of income that can substantially impact their futures.
If you have lost someone to what you believe was a medical error, you deserve to be compensated by those who are responsible for your loved one’s death. By holding the people or organizations responsible for the death of your loved one accountable for their actions, you can help change the system to prevent other families from suffering as your family has suffered. By bringing these situations to light, it allows others to make changes to procedures, protocols, and regulations to prevent the same medical errors from occurring again.
Contact A Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Attorney
It’s important to find a Rhode Island medical malpractice attorney who fights for your rights and fights to seek justice for your loved one. No amount of money will ease your grief; however, holding someone accountable for the death of your loved one can provide a measure of closure.
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