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How prevalent are errors by medical professionals?

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

Everyone makes mistakes. Chances are, there’s not one person reading this who hasn’t committed an error at work. However, when most employees make a mistake, it means an order doesn’t go out on time or a presentation doesn’t go over as well as it should have. When an error at work can mean the difference between life and death or permanent disability, there’s a higher responsibility to get things right. That’s the case for doctors every day. If they make a medical error, their patient could die.

You might think this grave responsibility would mean highly attentive doctors and surgeons and a very low rate of mistake. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. According to a study in the Journal of Patient Safety, a medical journal that’s peer-reviewed, an estimated 440,000 people die every year from medical errors in hospitals.

It’s a frightening number and putting it in context only makes it scarier. That figure adds up to over 1,000 deaths every day in this country and accounts for over a half of all hospital deaths each year. In fact, 440,000 makes medical errors the third biggest cause of death in the nation, behind just cancer and heart disease.

It’s shocking, but the truth is that it happens all the time and families are left to pick up the pieces. These victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and, if negligence can be proven, they might be able to get compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of wages.

Picture of Edward A. Ruffo, Partner

Edward A. Ruffo, Partner

Mr. Ruffo currently litigates cases at the state and federal levels in New York and New Jersey and has obtained numerous multi-million dollar medical damage awards for his clients. He has been annually ranked as a Top 10 and Top 100 Trial Lawyer by numerous professional societies including The National Trial Lawyers Association.

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