The Potentially Catastrophic Effects of Medical Errors

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Catastrophic medical errors take a heavy toll in the U.S.. According to different studies in American medical journals, such mistakes in America's medical system can claim more than 200,000 lives every year while affecting injury to more than a million others.



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These errors are often made in hospitals by doctors, nurses, technicians and related personnel. Other cases of medical malpractice occur in clinics, private offices and nursing homes.

A medical error can range from a faulty diagnosis or treatment to the administration of the wrong or an incorrect the amount of medication. One of the most common errors are mistakes that lead to infections in hospitalized patients.

A survey of hospitals in Pennsylvania showed that nearly 20,000 patients suffered infections during the year 2005, with more than 10 percent of those infected succumbing to their ailments.

Catastrophic Effects of Medical Errors 

  • Some type of medication error is responsible for at least one death per day in the U.S.A.
  • Diagnosis that is delayed to the point where treatment is no longer effective can be as serious as a misdiagnosis.
  • Surgical mistakes include operations conducted at the wrong location or the failure to remove tools from the patient's body.
  • Errors can involve the improper placement of tubes during medical procedures.
  • Medical errors can also include, but are not limited to, the incorrect application of prescribed methods during gastric bypass operations, the treatment of fertility problems, or many of the various mistakes that can happen during a visit to the emergency room.

The victims of medical malpractice and their families may never learn of the mistake that led to the injury or death. It may take a prolonged inquiry to identify the mistake and intensive litigation to resolve the case legally. In most cases, however, the patients and their survivors do not sue the offending parties.

Under the law, the victims of medical errors and their families may be entitled to compensation for the physical and emotional pain they have suffered. However, it normally takes the involvement of an attorney who is experienced in such matters to assure a just outcome in cases of medical malpractice.

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