A study published by researchers at Harvard University in the 1990s confirmed what we intuitively know — medical malpractice occurs frequently in our hospitals and clinics and results in large numbers of avoidable injuries and deaths. The data reported there suggested that the number of avoidable deaths each year from medical negligence may be in the range of 80,000 to 100,000. Since then, research has confirmed this alarming trend:
- The Institute of Medicine found in its 1999 study that 98,000 avoidable deaths occur each year in hospitals.
- A 2004 study by CPM HealthGrades found that when medical errors in the hospital and outside the hospital are combined, as many as 195,000 people die each year from these errors.
- Johns Hopkins professor Peter Pronovost, author of a 2010 book advocating for patient safety, estimates the number of deaths from medical errors now total more than 250,000 each year.
These numbers are, indeed, alarming. Deaths from medical errors each year are:
- four times the number of deaths that occurred in all the years of the Vietnam War.
- five times as many deaths as those which occur on the nation’s highways each year.
- as many deaths as if two jumbo jets were crashing, fully loaded, every day.
The plain fact is that “medical mistakes” are one of the most prolific causes of death in the United States.
The numbers alone do not reflect the full extent of the loss that individuals and families suffer when medical negligence affects them personally. Family members are lost prematurely and unnecessarily. Health and vigor give way to long-term disability. Income and earning capacity are lost. Expenses are unnecessarily incurred. Lives are changed for the worse.
Medical Malpractice Can Occur in Any Healthcare Setting
Medical malpractice occurs in many places, including hospitals, operating rooms, delivery rooms, emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, laboratories, and x-ray units. It appears in many forms, including diagnosis errors, delays in diagnosis, delays in treatment, surgical errors, medication errors, and nursing negligence.
Attorneys Experienced in Medical Negligence Cases
If you or a member of your family has suffered a significant injury as a result of medical negligence, we welcome your call. We will discuss your case without charge to you. If appropriate, we will obtain the medical records and investigate more extensively. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Please remember: Time is of the essence in pursuing medical negligence claims. In Missouri and in many other states, the statute of limitations requires that medical malpractice cases must be filed in court within two years from the date of the negligent treatment. And it almost always takes several weeks to a few months to investigate a medical case before it can be filed. So it is important that you call a lawyer as early as possible to start the discussion of whether you have a case.