Medical Malpractice Impacts Over 100,000 People Each Year in the US

Medical Syringes Vial And Wad Of Dollar Bills On The Rough Wooden Background. Medical Mistake Or Drug Abuse Concept
Medical Syringes Vial And Wad Of Dollar Bills On The Rough Wooden Background. Medical Mistake Or Drug Abuse Concept

While committing one’s self to healing the body is considered a noble undertaking, mistakes in Western medicine are currently a rampant problem. A news report in July 2016 called the situation a crisis. Although medical professionals are human and make mistakes, the high frequency of errors—many of which are preventable—have led to bankruptcy filings for some patients.

Using the Wrong Processes

Medical errors are normally defined as a failure to complete a planned action as intended or to use the wrong process to achieve a specific outcome. These types of lapses in the medical field impact 44,000 to almost 100,000 people each year.

Those numbers are more than the yearly deaths attributed to motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. Researchers found that mistakes that are preventable cost consumers billions of dollars annually. Part of the expense involves taking care of the errors medically and the patients loss of income and reduction in household productivity.

Common Medical Errors

According to 2008 statistics, just over $17 billion was paid for medical mistakes, with just around $5 billion paid per year in hospital readmissions that could have been avoided. Research identified over 1.5 million avoidable mistakes and found the median cost for a mistake was just over $11,300. Almost 70% of the entire medical expenses for measurable medical mistakes was related to ten common errors. These errors included:

  • Pressure ulcers
  • Postoperative infections
  • Hemorrhage, which leads to complications
  • Post-laminectomy syndrome
  • Accidental puncture
  • Mechanical problem with a non-cardiac device
  • Mechanical problem with a cardiac device
  • Hematoma, leading to complications
  • Abdominal hernia (with no mention of obstruction)
  • Unspecified and adverse effect of a drug

5 Main Malpractice Areas

The National Practitioner Data Bank, or NPDB says that the main five areas of malpractice include:

  • Treatment
  • Diagnosis
  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics
  • Medication

Also, during a ten-year period, from 2004 to 2014, over 182,095 malpractice claims were registered against doctors and 270,300 of the claim were filed against nurses. Dental professionals, therapeutic practitioners, and assistants and technicians followed in the number of claims. What’s more no federal law exists that requires medical facilities to report medical mistakes. Although 27 states do require the reporting, the resulting data is not regularly compiled and is rife with inaccurate information.