According to researchers at Johns Hopkins who have published a study in BMJ, there are approximately 200,000 deaths per year as a result of medical errors. Calculations were based on 35 million hospital admissions, and if they are accurate, this would mean that medical errors are one of the three top causes of death in the United States.
Although not everyone agrees with these exact numbers, they still demonstrate that medical errors can be deadly and are far too common. The good news is that there are ways that people entering a hospital can reduce their risk of being harmed by a physician’s mistake. They include asking about a procedure and what the risks are.
People should be aware of exactly why they are undergoing a surgery and what the goal is. Additionally, it’s important to know what the risk factors are and what the complications may be. Someone may decide that a particular course of action is too risky or may want to get a second opinion. The only way to make informed choices about health care is to have the options and pros and cons of certain actions explained.
Surgical errors can range from wrong site surgery to leaving tools in patients. In some situations, this may require a patient to stay longer in the hospital or may result in the patient developing a new condition, but in severe cases, these mistakes can lead to a person’s death. If someone believes that they or a family member were harmed due to a surgeon’s errors, a lawyer could assist them in determining what led to the error and if the physician may be held financially responsible.