Of course, we’d like to think the best of hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other members of the medical system. After all, they are often in control of keeping us alive or healthy. Who doesn’t want to, when its necessary to enter the medical system, enter it with the faith that he or she will receive the best care possible? The problem is that warm and fuzzy thoughts about the medical system may be inappropriate. When we are willing to take our head out of the clouds, we may find the facts on the ground, about medical malpractice, to be alarming. Here we’ll look at five alarming facts about medical malpractice.
- While a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 54% of people believe their doctor would be “very” or “somewhat” likely to tell them if a preventable medical error that resulted in serious harm was made in their care, issues are often swept under the rug when they occur. Among those who say they or a family member have experienced a medical error (34% of the public), seven in ten say that the doctor or health professional involved did not tell them that a mistake had been made.
- While the vast majority (92 percent) of society believes that reporting serious medical errors should be mandatory and public. The only national database of malpractice claims, the US Department of Health & Human Services’ National Practitioners Databank (NPDB), is still closed to the public. On top of that, it has been deliberately undermined by the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA has gone so far as to offer guidance on “[h]ow to evade a report to the NPDB.”
- In 2018, a total of 4.03 billion dollars was paid out to plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases. That’s less than the total payout for medical malpractice cases in 2004 (when the payout was approximately $4.6 billion) but greater than it was in 2012 (when the payout was approximately $3.5 billion).
- According to a 2014 HCPlive article, one third of medical malpractice cases allege errors in diagnosis. Twenty-three percent allege errors related to surgery. Eighteen percent allege errors in treatment. Ten percent allege errors in obstetrics. Ten percent allege medication/anesthesia errors.
- The average number of malpractice claims filed each year stands near 85,000. Meanwhile, the number of injuries caused by medical malpractice is likely in excess of one million. All too often individuals who are injured by health care professionals never seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney.
As individuals, we can and should hold doctors and other health care professionals accountable for the errors they make. Patients should know that, if they are injured as the result of medical malpractice, they have the legal right to seek compensation through a lawsuit.
If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of a medical professional in Maryland, you may have questions about your legal options. If you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, I encourage you to contact me today. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.