Health care is the fastest growing industry in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts predict that more than 4 million jobs will be created in the 10-year period ending in 2022.
However, while the industry is booming, trust in medical providers here in Pennsylvania and elsewhere is going in the opposite direction. A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine shows that only 34% of Americans trust medical providers compared to 75% in the mid-1960s.
Medical errors account for thousands of deaths each year
A study by Johns Hopkins says 250,000 people in the U.S. die annually because of medical mistakes, making them the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. The most common medical errors include:
- Misdiagnosis: Incorrect, missed or delayed diagnoses cause patients to avoid getting the treatment they need or force them into unnecessary treatments, some of which can cause them more harm, or even lead to death. Misdiagnoses are the No. 1 source of malpractice claims and most often happen in cases involving tumors, heart conditions, blood clots and infections.
- Medication errors: Patients prescribed the wrong medication are also common occurrences. Doctors can prescribe the wrong drug or dosage or combine two drugs that harm patients when they interact. Patients in hospitals often receive medications meant for others.
- Surgical errors: Surgeons can puncture an organ or artery or operate on the wrong body part, and in some cases, doctors leave surgical tools inside a patient’s body, which can cause more damage. Some patients also receive improper instructions from medical staff members after surgery that can delay recovery or cause more harm.
- Childbirth injuries: While some birth conditions are from natural causes, others result from the negligence of a doctor. Brain injuries, paralysis, bone fractures and nerve damage are examples of some injuries that can occur, while failing to diagnose a mother’s condition or a congenital disability can also cause malpractice claims.
Seek legal advice for medical malpractice
Medical errors can create massive medical bills, lost wages and funeral expenses. An experienced personal injury attorney here in Pennsylvania can help you recover those costs as well as compensation for other damages, including the loss of a loved one.