Medical Malpractice Rampant in the United States
Negligence of Medical Providers Now Third Leading Cause of Death
Despite swift advances in medical technology and processes, more and more patients find themselves facing an uphill battle to find quality medical care. A recent study conducted by the Institute of Medicine reveals startling data regarding medical malpractice cases. According to the study, medical malpractice has become the third leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 12 million people falling victim to negligence each year.
According to the study, the most common forms of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis: Incorrect or delayed identification of a medical condition can have serious consequences. Patients who are misdiagnosed are at risk of deteriorating health and death.
- Gross negligence: Simple carelessness or mistakes lead to countless injuries and fatalities each year. Medical providers who fail to provide a standard of care endanger patients.
- Medication errors: Prescription drugs have the potential to save lives. When prescribed incorrectly, medication can be very dangerous. Medication errors include dispensing of incorrect prescriptions, prescribing drugs that patients are allergic to and prescribing drugs that have harmful interactions with other medications.
- Surgical errors: Mistakes during surgical procedures are life threatening. The most common types of surgical errors include puncturing an artery or organ or leaving equipment inside the patient.
Experts estimate that most people will experience medical malpractice or a diagnostic error at least once in their lives. Of course, the severity of these mistakes varies from case to case, with the majority falling into the minor category. In most cases, diagnostic errors go undiscovered and ultimately have little impact on the patient. Unfortunately, errors on the other end of the spectrum, those most severe, lead to significant hardship for the patient and their family.
What can you do to avoid a misdiagnosis?
There are several things you can do to limit the possibility of a medical misdiagnosis, including:
- Clearly describe your symptoms to your medical provider
- Voice your concerns regarding treatment plans or a diagnosis
- Do your research on your medical provider and treatment plans
- Maintain detailed medical records
- Be active in managing your health
- Ask questions whenever necessary
- Get a second opinion whenever possible
By being proactive about your condition, you can reduce the chances of a costly and painful misdiagnosis.
What should you do if you feel you have been misdiagnosed?
If you suspect that a medical provider has misdiagnosed a medical condition for yourself or a loved one, it may be helpful to speak to an attorney. The objective advice you receive during the discussion may help you understand your legal rights and options.
At Larson Law Firm, P.C., we represent North Dakota residents who have suffered or lost a loved one following an emergency room error. Contact us online or call us toll free at 701-484-HURT to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today.