Patients in emergency situations often have no choice about what hospital they are transported to, but those who are undergoing planned surgeries for heart conditions or otherwise seeking treatment for cancer or serious medical conditions have the opportunity to research hospitals in advance and may have a choice about where they undergo care. If you or a loved one is planning any procedure in a hospital, Medical Malpractice lawyers in Louisville, KY believe it is essential for patients to understand the risks and be aware of the high number of fatal medical mistakes occurring each year.
Medical errors have long been a concern for patients, with studies as far back as 1998 estimating that around 98,000 people were killed each year because of preventable medical errors in hospitals. Now, however, new data indicates that the risk of death to due hospital negligence may be far greater than previously believed.
Death Due to Medical Error a Serious Risk for Hospital Patients
A toxicologist at NASA’s space center developed new methodology for identifying how many people die each year as a result of medical mistakes in hospitals. The methodology involved a review of four recent studies identifying adverse medical events that harmed patients. A Global Trigger tool was used to comb through medical records to find signs of error and when mistakes were identified, a doctor reviewed the record to assess the outcome for patients.
Based on this new research method, Scientific America reports that the revised estimates indicate anywhere between 210,000 and 440,000 patients were dying annually because of preventable medical mistakes in hospitals. This would make medical errors the third leading cause of death in the United States, with only cancer and heart disease causing more fatalities.
Although the American Health Association has indicated a lack of confidence in the new numbers, three prominent patient safety researchers reviewed the method used to come to the revised estimates and indicate the findings are credible. Data from Health and Human Services indicating that medical errors are a contributing factor in the death of around 180,000 patients annually also lend credence to the new research.
With so many patients dying each year because of mistakes in hospitals, patients should take advantage of available sources of information to try to find care facilities where the risks are minimized and where physicians and hospital administrators seem to have a better track record of success. Consumer Reports advises patients to:
- Get advice from primary care physicians on surgeons to use and hospitals to seek treatment at.
- Learn about and speak with the surgeons who work at different hospitals to find out how past patients have fared.
- Use the Hospital Compare resource to see how the hospital has been rated and reviewed by past patients.
By taking the time to do research before seeking planned treatment at a hospital, patients can hopefully avoid becoming one of the many patients who fall victim to medical mistakes each year.
If you or a loved one was by a hospital error, medical malpractice lawyers in Louisville, KY can help. Call Shelton Law Group today at 888-761-7204 for a free consultation.