Deadly Medicine in America
In 2000 the Journal of the American Medical Association published the number of yearly fatalities resulting from unnecessary surgery, hospital-acquired infections and other instances of harmful medical care. This estimate reached a total of 250,000 lives lost in just one year due to medical negligence. By that figure, it is said that an encounter with the United States health care system was the third leading cause of death in America. This figure falls behind only to all episodes of heart disease and cancer.
After this publication was released, the severity of the statistics it claimed led to an investigation by Congress into the health care system. As a result, many plans were enacted to improve the quality of care given by hospitals and nursing homes including the development of hospital performance improvement teams across the country. Still, after establishing all the plans and protocols in order to prevent (or even reduce) medical injuries, American medicine is said to be even more dangerous today.
In November, 2010 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a study that covered the 15% of the U.S. population enrolled in Medicare. It found that each month, one out of seven Medicare hospital patients are injured – and an estimated 15,000 are killed – by harmful medical practice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that almost 100,000 Americans now die from hospital-acquired infectionsalone, and that most of these cases are later found to be preventable. Due to the costs of treating these infections, Medicare is requiring hospitals to identify by coding whether or not the conditions were present upon admission.
After reading this, it may seem shocking that so many individuals are subject to life-threatening situations as a result of the health care they receive. Although you may feel like there is not much you can do to guard against medical malpractice, there are some small and easy steps you can take to help keep yourself safe. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are some proactive ways you can try to keep yourself apart from these staggering statistics:
- Make sure your healthcare provider washes their hands before they touch or examine you
- Speak up to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about any treatment you have received or any symptoms you are having
- Enlist a family member or friend to be with you and to advocate for you when going to the hospital or doctor’s office
- Ask about your test results and know what they mean
- Learn about your condition and all the treatments available to you
If you or a loved one believes to have been the victim of a doctor’s negligence or have other questions about medical malpractice, remember that you always have the option of seeking legal help from a medical malpractice attorney. The Deltona medical malpractice attorney at Rue & Ziffra, P.A. has experience in representing the victims of nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, hospital negligence and other areas of practice.
The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra, P.A. and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.