The health care industry would like us to believe a number of myths and misinformation about medical malpractice, but the following are 5 surprising facts about medical malpractice that cannot be ignored.
- Medical error is the third leading cause of death. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, as many as 440,000 patients die each year as a result of preventable medical errors, making medical negligence the third leading cause of death just behind heart disease and cancer.
- Misdiagnosis is the most common type of medical error. In fact, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of medical malpractice cases involving a diagnostic error, resulting in permanent injury or death for up to 160,000 patients each year. As we recently reported, researchers from Best Doctors and the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) found that 60 percent of doctors surveyed believed cancer misdiagnosis rates to be between zero and 10 percent, whereas the BMJ Quality and Safety journal estimates the rate of cancer misdiagnosis to be approximately 28 percent. Lymphoma is believed to be the most often misdiagnosed cancer, followed by breast cancer, sarcomas, melanomas, and cancer of an unknown site.
- Surgical “never events” occur at an alarmingly high rate. According to research conducted by Johns Hopkins University, surgical “never events” – things like instruments left behind in the patient, the wrong procedure performed, operating on the wrong surgical site, and surgery performed on the wrong patient – happen at least 4,000 times a year in the United States and more than 80,000 “never events” occurred between 1990 and 2010.
- Medical malpractice costs society billions of dollars each year. According to Public Citizen,the annual costs to society for medical errors in hospitals is between $17 billion and $29 billion, and the total amount spent on medical malpractice insurance in 2000 was $6.4 billion – at least three to five times less than the Institute of Medicine’s estimate of the costs of malpractice to society.
- Medical malpractice lawsuits are NOT responsible for health care costs. Research shows that compensation for medical malpractice awards accounts for only 0.3 percent of America’s $2.2 trillion in healthcare spending, while the annual cost of treating preventable medical errors is a shocking $29 billion. Moreover, on average, 97 percent of medical negligence claims have merit.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you or a loved one were the victim of medical negligence, you may be able to recover money damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are strict time limitations on when you can file a medical malpractice claim, however, so it is important to contact a medical malpractice lawyers as soon as possible.
The Chicago medical malpractice law firm of Cogan & Power, P.C. is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of the victims of medical malpractice, and over the years, we have collected more than $600 million for our clients.