Alarming Medical Malpractice Statistics

Medical professionals in the United States generally enjoy a status of great reverence. Americans appreciate the dedication, hard work, and extensive education that are required by doctors, nurses, and other medical care professionals to become practitioners of the healing arts. This dedication has never been more evident than during the pandemic, when we observed health care employees working an incredible number of hours under difficult circumstances, all while placing themselves at personal risk. Most would agree that the United States has some of the finest medical care available anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately, there is another side to the coin. Not all medical outcomes are good, and some of the poor medical results that occur are caused by professional negligence. In this article we will examine some alarming medical malpractice statistics.

Medical Errors and Preventable Harm Abound

MDLinx, a publication that targets healthcare professionals, reports that approximately 400,000 people each year experience preventable harm at the hands of a health care provider while hospitalized. The article further notes that medical errors cause approximately 100,000 deaths per year. The yearly cost of the errors is approximately $20 billion. The authors of the underlying report include the following in their definition of “medical errors”:

  • Diagnostic errors
  • Medication errors
  • Surgical errors equipment failures
  • Infections
  • System failures
  • Falls
  • Device failures
  • Healthcare technology failures

The High Court, an employment resource for lawyers, has its own list of medical malpractice statistics that it labels as “shocking.” Among them are the following:

  • 41 percent of our population in the United States thinks they have been a victim of medical malpractice.
  • 250,000 deaths occur each year from medical errors. This is the number 3 cause of death in America.
  • Surgeons, followed by obstetricians/gynecologists, are the specialists most likely to be sued.

Addressing Medical Errors

According to an article published by StatPearls (authored by Thomas Rodziewicz, Benjamin Houseman, and John Hipskind), medical errors constitute a serious problem, and the authors note two major types of errors - errors of commission and errors of omission. An error of omission is the failure to do something that should be done - for example, forgetting to give a patient prescribed medication. An error of commission is taking an action that is incorrect. An example would be failure to remove a sponge from a patient’s body during or after surgery.

The authors note that it is important to understand that unfortunate results are not always the fault of a healthcare provider. However, there are also many preventable errors, some of which are caused by negligence. Below are some of the medical errors reported as being the most common.

  • Bed sores
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse drug events
  • Urinary tract infections related to catheters
  • Fall-related injuries
  • Surgical site infections
  • Pneumonia associated with ventilators

Call with Questions

If you or a loved one has been injured while undergoing a medical procedure or while receiving medical treatment, you will almost certainly have questions. We understand that this area of the law is complicated and requires an understanding of medicine and a network of experienced experts on whom to rely. The medical malpractice attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield have assisted malpractice victims all across the state of Oregon and we have the knowledge and experience to answer your questions.

Please give us a call for a free consultation. And if you need assistance, we can help you investigate and evaluate your case. We stand with our clients from start to finish because we believe the only way to keep society safer for everyone is by holding negligent actors responsible for their conduct.


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