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Medical errors continue to rise despite advances in technology

Science has led to a variety of tools and cures that can fight disease and help people in Pennsylvania and around the world live healthier lives. Unfortunately, human error leads to a number of patients being exposed to preventable harm and high numbers of deaths. In fact, the government report “To Err Is Human” indicates that deaths resulting from medical error are around 98,000 annually in the United States.

The harm caused by medical errors is not as widely publicized as diseases like cancer. Of course, there are fundraisers, marches and lobbyists working to fight against medical errors. But the funding that is available for research is negligible in comparison to funding that is available for serious diseases.

An area of special concern is diagnostics. Most people will be given a wrong diagnosis at least once in their lifetime. A third of wrong diagnosis cases involve vascular events, infection and cancer. In addition to the immeasurable human harm that this causes, around $1.8 billion is spent every year in malpractice suits.

Technology has given medical professionals the ability to use 3-D imaging and electronic medical records. While it seems that this type of technology would reduce the number of medical errors, it seems that they actually create more problems. One example is the use of electronic medical records, which leads physicians to spend more time on their screens than with their patients. This contributes to burnout, which can lead to doctors making errors.

Receiving a misdiagnosis or being the victim of medical malpractice can completely change a person’s life. An individual who is in this situation may want to discuss what options are available with an attorney. The attorney may be able to answer questions about hospital negligence, birth injuries and delayed diagnosis and what steps a person needs to take to seek compensation.