Four Surprises about Medical Malpractice

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It’s scary to think about, but one of the most common problems in the healthcare world is medical malpractice. Nearly 80% of medical care glitches are caused by human error, and there is far too little being done to control and stop this dangerous trend. Want to know more about medical malpractice? Then check out the list below. These 4 facts about malpractice might make you re-think who you choose for your medical care and how you interact with your doctor. 

It’s more common than you think.

You want to feel safe every time you visit the doctor’s office, since he or she is the one entrusted with your care and health. However, what you might not realize is that medical malpractice isn’t just some foreign concept. In reality, it happens much more frequently that you might realize (or hope to be true). According to statistics, about 98,000 people die from complications of medical malpractice each year. That is the equivalent of two 737 planes crashing and all of their passengers dying every single day.

Research shows that malpractice is committed by only a handful of doctors.

The West Virginia Sunday Gazette-Mail recently completed a study that showed that in their state, more than 25% of 2,300 cases of medical practice reported between 1993 and 2001 were committed by just 40 doctors. In Kentucky, studies showed that from 1992 to 2001, 16% of the state’s doctors committed all of the medical malpractice, while the other 85% made no errors. These studies show that much of medical malpractice happens from repeat offenders, and that insurance companies and regulation boards do not take the appropriate measures to weed dangerous doctors out. If you are thinking of using a doctor for your treatment, make sure you do your research beforehand and make sure he or she has a pristine record.

Most people don’t know when they're a victim.

In most cases, people who have been the victims of malpractice and their relatives never know that they have been. When doctors and nurses discover missteps, they often sweep them under the rug to avoid potential legal trouble. This means that if something goes awry in your care and you get sicker, doctors will often continue to treat you without ever explaining why your condition has worsened. If you suspect something strange in your medical care, ask your doctors or nurses. It can help you uncover a lapse in treatment and take the proper steps to make sure that the same mistake doesn’t happen to other patients.

There are caps on medical malpractice damage.

In some states and situations, there are caps in the amount of damages that can be claimed due to medical malpractice. Most of these damages include non-economic claims, like pain and suffering or loss of quality of life. Former President George H. Bush suggested a $250,000 cap for medical malpractice, and many states have passed some version of this bill. The logic behind these caps was that they would lower physicians insurance premiums, ensuring that healthcare remained affordable. In reality, insurance companies have admitted that these caps due nothing to affect physicians insurance premiums. States with caps on medical malpractice damages include Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.






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