Most people have heard the old expression “An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away”. When you review the numbers and statistics concerning medical malpractice in this country, you may understand why there are so many Lawyer sponsored commercials at all times of the day and night concerning Medical Malpractice cases. There have been many new studies on this subject and the findings are enough to have you tripping over your own feet getting to the proverbial apple tree.
We are going to compare three major causes of death in the United States which are Fatal Medical Malpractice mistakes, Motor Vehicle Highway Fatalities and Murder (Homicides). Keep in mind that the Malpractice statistics are compiled from pure medical mistakes and negligence. These numbers will not reflect deaths from natural causes or normal complications to surgery in hospitals.
New Study Confirms 440,000 Deaths from Medical Negligence Annually.
These startling numbers of 440,000 deaths from Medical Malpractice were recently published by the Journal of Patient Safety. It has been found that the government simply under estimated the numbers for many years and the projected numbers were much lower that what the actual statistics done by professional statisticians were creating by doing research with their professional measures. There have been other reviews indicating that there were about 210,000 Malpractice reported deaths. But again you have to realize these studies generated estimates with no solid data until now.
Statisticians state that many Medical Malpractice cases are never reported in an attempt to eliminate possible law suits.
When I was very young I heard an expression that when most people make a mistake it is noticeable, but when Doctors or Hospitals make an error they can bury their mistakes. I read a sad story a few years ago about a man from Chicago whose mother and his mother-in-law went into the hospital at different times for nothing life threatening what so ever with no surgery required and both women died from picking up a serious virus due to improperly sanitized rooms. It was later found that the rooms were not cleaned properly and by not using the correct germ killing detergents.
Medical Malpractice is now the 3rd leading cause of death in America just falling short of Cancer and Heart Disease.
When you stop and think about the statement of Malpractice being the third leading cause of death in America, it really makes the average people stop and think about what this is all about and what needs to be done to reduce these numbers. Many Doctors blame the Malpractice liabilities on Nurses dropping the ball and at the same time the Nurses are pointing their fingers at the Doctors who should take the fall. The hospitals who can be the most common culprits go down the line putting the blame on the lower ranking staff employees. When the smoke clears you have a group of people trying to pass the buck on the next guy to save themselves from being targeted by the Malpractice Lawyers who are investigating the case. Medical malpractice deaths exceed murder & highway fatalities combined which is an incredible statistic.
Let us compare medical Malpractice to the other major causes of death in this country which would be Felony Murder and Motor Vehicle Traffic accidents.
The United States Department of Transportation did an accurate survey and reported that there were 32,719 deaths in vehicle crashes in the United States in 2013. This breaks down to 89.6 people dying each day from accidents in motor vehicles. We can safely say that is a very high number to say the least. Motor vehicles are much safer than they used to be but now we have many motorists conversing on cell phones and sending each other text messages.
A very accurate report was generated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and reported their findings of 14,319 murders were committed in the United States in the year 2013. That breaks down to 39.2 Murders per day. This also is a depressing number to see that almost 40 people lose their life each day to a person who intentionally takes another fellow Americans life.
If we use the most current number of malpractice deaths of 440,000 we will find a mathematical breakdown of 1,205.48 deaths in this country each day from the medical professions errors in one way shape or form.
The final breakdown reveals there are over nine times the Medical Malpractice deaths in this country than the total Motor Vehicles fatalities and total Murders in this country combined. This puts Medical malpractice as the third cause of death in the United States. If we illustrate the number of the top 5 causes of deaths in the country, this is how it breaks down on a per year basis.
1. Heart Disease Deaths – 611,105
2. Cancer Caused Deaths – 589,430
3. Medical Malpractice Deaths – 440,000
4. Motor Vehicle Deaths – 32,719
5. Homicide related Deaths – 14,319
Here are some interesting examples of Medical Malpractice
Some of the people died and some of the others survived with only mental scars of their trauma. Most of the names of the patients have been removed from these malpractice examples for their own privacy.
1. Patient receives a heart bypass but performed on the wrong artery.
In 2001, news was reported concerning the case of medical malpractice that happened to a Saturday Night Live celebrity comedian. Approximately two months after the double bypass surgery to preserve his life, the man was given the news that the surgeon had bypassed a wrong artery. A $7.5 million lawsuit against the surgeon and the hospital was later filed.
2. Open heart surgery performed on the wrong patient.
An 67 year old female patient was admitted to a teaching hospital to have a Cerebral Angiography performed. After the procedure was completed, she was returned to a hospital room on an entirely different floor than her original one. Instead of being discharged as planned, she was wheeled to have an open heart procedure performed. She was on the operating table for over an hour when a doctor from a different department called and asked what they were doing with his patient.
Once the mistake was realized, the procedure was canceled, and the patient was returned to her room in stable condition; however, the consequences of the extra surgery performed included increased risks of heart attack, stroke, internal bleeding and infections.