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Medical errors cost billions of dollars a year

In North Carolina, as well as the rest of the U.S., medical errors in the hospital are the third leading cause of death in the country. They cost the U.S. somewhere between 15 and 19 billion dollars each year. These costs include ancillary services, in-patient and out-patient care, and prescription drug costs.

Studies discussed in the Journal of Patient Safety have shown that fatal medical errors cause between 200,000 and 400,000 patient deaths in U.S. hospitals per year. After being discharged from the hospital, about the same number of people die from these kinds of medical mistakes. One study was done that found the number of preventable injurious events that doctors reported was three times lower than the number that the patients reported. This same study also found that doctors often refuse to report serious negative occurrences. The physicians with the largest number of non-reported incidences are cardiologists.

Some of the preventable medical errors that could occur are nerve or vessel injuries, blood clots, wound infections, medication errors, facility acquired infections, omissions in treatment and diagnostic errors. Surgical errors, such as injuring organs during surgery or performing the wrong operation, are also common.

If someone has been injured or lost a loved one due to hospital negligence, misdiagnosis or other doctor error, then an experienced medical malpractice attorney could help. An attorney may represent the plaintiff in court in a civil trial, advise the client about issues relevant to their specific case and negotiate a settlement with the responsible party.

Source: National Law Review, "Medical Errors in Hospitals are Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.", Edward Shensky, Feb. 3, 2016

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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