Last month, a report about medical errors made waves in the healthcare community. It was found that roughly 251,000 deaths in the U.S. are caused by medical errors. In 1999, a study found that only 98,000 people died from medical errors. Now, this doesn't mean medical errors are more common today than 17 years ago. But what it does mean is that the reporting of such errors is becoming more accurate over time.
A recent online article notes that health care professionals are "not always liable for all the harms a patient experiences," which is certainly true.
A recent analysis of available statistics resulted in a troubling discovery: preventable medical errors are the third highest cause of death in the U.S. Sadly, as many as 400,000 people die every year due to errors like wrong-site surgery, medication mistakes and missed diagnoses.
National statistics indicate that, annually, some 2.2 million people in the U.S. alone seek emergency medical care for traumatic brain injuries. While medical technology and research has advanced to the point where robots are performing surgeries and people can select their child's gender, much about the human brain remains a mystery. Because of this, there's currently no universal or systematic method that's used by emergency departments to assess and diagnose patients for or with TBIs.
Anyone who has ever personally undergone surgery or who has had a loved one go through a medical procedure can likely attest to the feelings of fear and anxiety associated with such an event. While doctors and other healthcare professionals are highly experienced and trained, a 2013 study estimated that, annually, between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die after being victims of preventable medical errors.
Patients are often at the mercy of their medical providers. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent or true than when a patient undergoes a surgical procedure. Even the most vigilant and educated of patients can suffer harm, injury and death while under the effects of anesthesia and under the knife.