Medical errors a leading cause of death in U.S., study finds

A new study out of Johns Hopkins finds that over 250,000 deaths annually are the result of medical errors.

Whether going to treat traumatic injuries or deliver a baby, going to the hospital is an emotional event. Medical professionals are trusted to provide quality care and help patients to return to health. In many cases, this is exactly what happens. Unfortunately, there are also situations where a medical professional's negligence leads to additional injury.

A recent study discussed by CNN Health finds that these instances are more common than originally thought. A study conducted in 1999 by the Institute for Medicine reported that 44,000 to 98,000 deaths were connected to medical errors annually. A new study finds this number was grossly underestimated.

Details of the new study: At least 250,000 deaths annually due to medical error

The study was conducted by a group of medical professionals from Johns Hopkins. It involved a review of data from four previous studies that focused on death rates connected to medical errors in the United States. Ultimately, after reviewing this data the physicians found that a minimum of 251,454 deaths occur annually that are the direct result of medical mistakes.

The authors of the study are calling for these findings to lead to reform. They claim that hospitals refrain from investing in technology to reduce the risk of these errors because hospital administrators do not realize how large the problem is. Since administrators believe the issue is relatively minor, they may not justify the cost of an investment in technology that could reduce these risks. One reform example involves the use of bar codes on medical equipment used during surgery which will help ensure nothing is left within the patient after the surgery is completed.

Victims of medical error: Remedies are available

Those who are injured due to a medical error have options. A civil suit is one remedy that can help in three ways:

  • Responsibility. A medical malpractice suit can hold those who are responsible for the injuries accountable for their actions.
  • Deterrence. The suit can also deter other medical professionals from making the same mistakes.
  • Assistance. The suit can also result in monetary awards that can help the victims to fund the costs of additional medical procedures, rehabilitation and medication expenses as well as lost wages.

Putting together a medical malpractice claim often requires evidence and testimony from medical professionals. As a result, it is wise for victims and their loved ones to seek the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. This legal professional will review the details of your case and help to better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.