Arizona residents who check in to hospitals for surgical procedures or because they need treatment for a specific ailment will usually assume that they will get the best care possible. However, it has been reported that this is not always the case. Hospitals and health care practitioners frequently make mistakes, with sometimes tragic results.
A study from doctors at Johns Hopkins in Maryland estimates that there are more than 250,000 deaths every year around the country because of medical errors. This estimate does not include deaths in nursing homes and care facilities, so the actual number is bound to be much higher. This places medical errors as one of the leading causes of death in America, possibly exceeded only by cancer and heart disease.
There is a wide variance in the number estimated by different groups. One 1999 study claimed there to be fewer than 100,000 deaths from medical error a year, while a government report on Medicaid patients alone placed the figure around 180,000 annual fatalities.
Stories abound of mistakes such as wrong-site surgery or leaving a surgical sponge inside of a patient, but medical errors may not always be so clear-cut. They could include a delayed diagnosis or a total failure to diagnose a disease. Each could lead to a worsened medical condition that could require expensive medical care and treatment, much of which might not have been necessary if a correct diagnosis had been made at the outset. Patients who have been harmed in this manner may want to meet with legal counsel so that they can learn if any remedies are available.
Source: CNN, “Medical errors may be third leading cause of death in the U.S.”, Jen Christensen, May 3, 2016