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Medical malpractice: Facts patients should know

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2021 | Misdiagnosis |

Medical malpractice is a serious problem in the United States and leads to far too many people getting hurt or passing away as a result of mistakes and complications made by a medical professional. In the U.S., medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death.

It’s estimated that around 250,000 medical malpractice deaths occur annually. Those deaths are just the tip of the iceberg because around 41% of people claim that they’ve been victims of malpractice in the past.

Common medical errors lead to claims

There are some common issues that lead to medical malpractice claims. These include:

  • Failure to diagnose/delayed diagnosis
  • Medication errors
  • Surgical errors

With so many errors that take place, it may be surprising that more cases don’t go to court. This is because medical malpractice cases can be difficult to prove. Patients and their families may not have all the facts about what happened to lead to complications or injuries from errors.

Physicians, surgeons and other medical professionals are human, so it makes sense that around 99% of them face at least one lawsuit by the time they reach the age of 65. Claims are more likely in high-risk specialties, likely because mistakes at that level are more likely to lead to serious injuries or death.

How many people are successful when making a medical malpractice claim?

It is hard to say how many people are successful because not all medical malpractice cases go to court or are resolved through payments. Some cases may be settled in-house, which means that the medical provider might offer services to correct a problem or the hospital or clinic may directly compensate the family or patient rather than going through a lawsuit.

How can you protect against malpractice?

To protect yourself against the risk of medical mistakes, remember to advocate for yourself as a patient. Ask questions, get second opinions and do research on your condition and the people you’re going to have treat you.

If you aren’t confident that you understand the medical procedure or the topics you’re discussing with your doctor, bring someone with you. That way, you’ll be in a better position to ask questions, get answers and protect yourself.