New York city report undereports hospital deaths

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

A recent study conducted by researchers from the New York University School of Medicine showed that the city’s Health Department is failing to report many of the deaths that occur as a result of preventable medical complications in state hospitals. The study covered a five-year period that ended in December 2010.

The report only listed 188 deaths during the five-year period that was under investigation. However, it was revealed that the Medical Examiner’s office stated that 2,471 deaths actually occurred as a result of complications while an additional 312 deaths occurred from medical accidents.

When those numbers are broken down, it was discovered that 1,300 deaths occurred during operations. 36 percent of those were caused by complications that were considered to be “technical,” such as sudden bleeding or ruptures. The remaining 1,171 deaths were not related to operation complications, with 295 of those deaths resulting from medication complications. Further, 224 of the 312 fatalities were caused by falls, 31 patients choked to death, 12 were associated with procedural issues and eight were a result of incorrect medication dosage.

Making a correct diagnosis can be incredibly difficult for doctors. However, they are responsible for keeping their patients as safe as possible while performing the best care available. If a medical error occurs and the patient ends up dying as a result, the deceased person’s family members may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who performed the procedure and the hospital at which the incident occurred. By filing this lawsuit, the family members may be able to seek compensation for any medical bills that were incurred during the patient’s stay, any income that the family has lost or will lose and other damages.

Source: New York Post, “City report overlooks fatal errors and accidents at hospitals“, Gary Buiso, May 25, 2014

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