Medical Malpractice: 3rd Leading Cause of Death in the USA

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

A new study on patient safety, published last week in the BMJ, found that “medical errors” in health care facilities account for around 251,000 deaths a year. This astonishing figure places medical errors as the third leading cause of death behind only heart disease and cancer. Medical errors account for more deaths a year than respiratory disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s.

The leading researcher Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained that “medical errors” includes mistakes by doctors to more general issues such as communication breakdowns between departments. The term encompasses patients dying from “care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care.”

The astoundingly large number of deaths by medical error reveals the issue is a systemic one. It is an issue that hospitals and health-care facilities avoid addressing, discussing, or being transparent about. Few institutions provide the public with actual incident details on cases of injury due to mistakes. Furthermore, the CDC does not collect data about deaths through billing codes, obscuring the picture of this important issue at the national level. It is imperative for this issue to be understood at the national level before it can be mitigated.

Attorneys continue to play an important role in driving progress when it comes to patient safety in our hospitals and health care facilities; on the national level through lobbying as well as the institutional level by trying cases against doctors and health care facilities who do not provide adequate care to their patients. If you are a victim of medical malpractice or medical error contact the attorneys of Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP, at (212) 684-1880, or online HERE. Our experienced attorneys will fight to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve when a third party is responsible for your injury.

You can read the full article by the Wall Street Journal here.

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