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Medical errors are a leading cause of death

North Carolina residents may be shocked to learn that about 200,000 Americans lose their lives each year due to medical errors. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University reached this figure after reviewing almost 35 million hospital admissions. The findings were published on May 3 in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans each year than medical mistakes.

Patients who hope to avoid adding to these statistics may be wise to perform thorough research before choosing a doctor or undergoing surgery. Physicians who are, or have been, board certified or possess impressive credentials and decades of experience may be less error prone than those who only recently began practicing medicine, but even the most talented of doctors occasionally make mistakes. Before choosing to undergo a surgical procedure, patients should ask detailed questions about the nature of the procedure concerned and find out if there are any medical alternatives to surgery.

Doctors are expected to tell their patients about the possible risks associated with the treatment plans they recommend as well as any possible complications that could develop. Modern pharmaceuticals may be highly effective, but their side effects can sometimes be deadly. Medication errors are a common type of medical mistake, and patients should do their research and ask their doctors pertinent questions before taking any powerful drugs.

North Carolina residents may associate medical malpractice lawsuits with poor clinical decisions made by doctors, but many such lawsuits are filed on behalf of patients who have been harmed by hospital negligence. Even the most capable doctors may be unable to overcome unsanitary conditions, poor training, lax supervision or inadequate staffing levels, and attorneys with medical malpractice experience could call upon experts in the area of hospital administration to establish that inaction may have allowed unsafe conditions to develop.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP
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