Many people only hear of or think about medical mistakes when they see them on the news. That only usually happens when something major occurs. However, medical mistakes harm people every day in this country. At Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt P.A., our Hawaii medical malpractice attorney want to look at what has been done over the last two decades to curb incidents of medical errors and whether it has been successful.
Regardless of where you turn to for medical mistake statistics, you have to acknowledge that there is a major problem. Perhaps the most shocking data comes from a report released by Johns Hopkins researchers that claim medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US. According to university researchers, approximately 250,000 people are killed due to medical errors each year in this country.
This should come as no surprise. As a Times Magazine article points out, the Institute of Medicine raised alarm bells in 1999 about the rising rate of medical mistakes. Their report at the time, titled “To Err is Human,” caused a stir. Congress mandated changes in the healthcare system, and the healthcare industry promised action. They even committed to reducing medical errors by 50% in five years – by 2004.
That year came and went, and we are still dealing with an alarming number of medical mistake deaths and injuries. The World Health Organization says that, globally, medical errors harm around 40% of patients in primary and outpatient care.
Medical mistakes still happen in a variety of ways. Some of the most common include:
Most of these are preventable, but many people in the industry say that, after the 1999 report, people lost the urgency to fix the problems. The Times article says that patient safety is hard to define. When things are going well, nobody wonders why. However, when a mistake occurs, blame tends to get assigned “down the ladder” and onto actual healthcare providers. For sure, their negligence can cause harm, but it is important to understand that patient safety only happens when the entire system is involved in improving patient outcomes.
If you or someone you love has been harmed due to the actions of a careless or negligent medical professional, please seek legal assistance today. At Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt P.A., you can count on us to get to the bottom of what happened. Our goal is to secure the compensation your family needs, including: