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How Many Patients in the US Die From Medical Error? The Stats Will Shock You

Recent data concerning death due to medical errors is something you would expect from a developing country.

However, the troubling fact is, a recent Johns Hopkins study has revealed that approximately 250,000 Americans die because of medical errors.

According to studies conducted by various other organizations, the number is closer to 440,000.

Whatever the specific number is, one thing is for sure: malpractice-related mishaps are the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer.

In July 2017, the Commonwealth Fund rated the United States as having the worst healthcare out of the 11 developed countries analyzed by the New York-based think tank.

A Broken System and Political Agendas: Inevitabilities of A For-Profit Healthcare System

Dr. Martin Makary of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine led the study and said he and his associates are trying to persuade the CDC to change the way it collects death certificate data.

However, the CDC has done little to nothing to make the required changes, Makary added.

Though there is no way of knowing why this information seemingly fell upon deaf ears or if the government even cares, it’s safe to assume money and politics are of more concern.

Makary told CNBC that medical error-related deaths stem primarily from preventable adverse effects, broken systems, error in judgment, lack of care, and, most of all, inadequately trained staff.

Medical institutions, despite all the money they rake in, have out of date computer systems that break down, medication mix-ups, undiagnosed complications after surgeries, and communication failures with patients.

What Constitutes as a Bonified Medical Error Malpractice Case?

Not every injury or death due to “medical error” fits the bill for a malpractice case. For example, a 33-year-old man suffered a punctured diaphragm during a 2003 stabbing.

The doctor attempted to convince him it needed, but the man refused and went home. Two years later, the man was involved in another stabbing incident where he was stabbed in the groin.

At some point, the victim’s small intestine found its way in his chest cavity, resulting in him dying suddenly of septic toxemia.

At first, everyone blamed the doctor, but after an autopsy revealed there was nothing the doctor could have done, either way, he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

There was nothing the doctor could have done to repair the man’s diaphragm and prevent the septic toxemia since the man passed up the opportunity two years ago.

For someone to be able to claim medical malpractice due to medical error, Indiana malpractice law firm state the following circumstances must be present:

  • “Doing what the healthcare provider should not have done under the circumstances.”
  • “Not doing what the healthcare provider should have done under the circumstances.”

“In addition, the medical error must have caused identifiable injury to you—the patient. This means the negligence must be a cause of your injuries,” the site further explains.

Reports Show Malpractice Claims Down but Payouts Have Risen

In one of many reports, the New York Daily News published an article recently about Kings County Hospital “reduced medical malpractice payouts over the past 10 years in part due to a team that ‘flags any potential trend’ and ‘develops strategies to eliminate recurring events.’”

However, despite Kings County Hospital decreasing medical malpractice payouts, the ones they are hit with are far higher than before the decrease.

In September 2018, Kings County Hospital’s last malpractice payout was over $3 million, which was the lowest payout during the year.

CBS News also reported back in 2017 that medical malpractice lawsuits fell by 56 percent over a 22 year period between 1996 and 2014.

But between 2009 and 2014, those payouts that have succeeded have seen the dollar amounts increase over 23 percent.

So, what’s so wrong with that?

Well, the biggest trend that may take place is “the influence of tort reform on malpractice lawsuits” the CBS News article went on to explain. In turn, laws set in place capping damage claims will lead to fewer attorneys interested in taking on malpractice suits.

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