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Medical errors claim hundreds of thousands of lives each year

A study recently conducted by physicians with the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine found that medical mistakes claim over 250,000 lives each year. This makes medical errors number three on the list of leading causes of death for Americans behind heart disease and cancer; however, some claim the number is actually much higher. Medical errors also account for a large number of medical malpractice claims in Washington, D.C., and all over the United States.

The study was concluded in 2016 and used eight years' worth of data concerning the rate at which deaths occurred during hospitalizations. Researchers found that around 9.5 percent resulted from some sort of medical error or negligence, which included things such as medication errors, unnecessary procedures, staff who were not properly trained or authorized to conduct certain procedures, and more. Those who conducted the study blamed the medical system as a whole rather than individual physicians and staff members. However, they also said not much has changed to fix the system over the past two years.

One physician, who is also an advocate for patient safety, offered several suggestions for patients to help them protect themselves. First, people should ask a lot of questions about the procedures they are to undergo or the medications they are prescribed, and they should also have a trusted friend or family member with them to act as an advocate on their behalf. Furthermore, if they are not satisfied with the explanation the doctor provides, they should get a second opinion.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one due to a medical mistake is obviously a very traumatic and trying experience for those in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. However, help is available, and those who suffered a loss as the result of medical errors should seek the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Such an attorney can assess a client's claim and provide necessary guidance and support throughout any legal proceedings that follow.

Source: CNBC, "The third-leading cause of death in US most doctors don't want you to know about", Ray Sipherd The, Feb. 22, 2018

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