Recent studies by Johns Hopkins University show that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., a statistic with details that are underreported by medical professionals. Without proper standards set in place to report medical error, healthcare professionals cannot properly identify and correct problems. This prevents a safe healthcare environment for patients and can lead to injuries and death due to medical error. A personal injury lawyer in Chicago, Illinois can help victims and their families seek damages for medical malpractice or wrongful death cases.
In May 2016, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) presented an open letter to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention asking for standards and regulations to be set in place for reporting medical errors. Currently, there is no place for “medical error” to be reported on a death certificate. By analyzing medical records JHU concluded that 9.7% of deaths in the U.S. (2013) were due to medical error – making it the third leading cause of death. JHU suggests that implementing a reporting system for medical error would help the healthcare industry determine faults and problems within the system and help doctors and hospitals work to create a safer environment for their patients.
As explained by JHU, “death due to medical error” is defined as death from an error in judgment or skill, a diagnostic error, a system defect or a preventable harmful event. Any of these situations that result in injury or death of the patient due to a medical error can be classified as medical malpractice. These cases are brought due to the negligence of nurses, hospitals, physicians, surgeons, obstetricians and other healthcare professionals. In medical malpractice cases, injury or death could have been prevented, which is why JHU suggests an “open dialogue” for discussing medical error that would help future medical professionals avoid dangerous situations.
When personal injury occurs because a healthcare professional strayed from their standards of care, the victim or their family may seek compensation for medical bills, financial stress and emotional damages. Negligence of the healthcare professional or hospital must be proven to receive compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims gather evidence and find expert witnesses to prove a medical malpractice case in Chicago, Illinois. Doctors, hospitals and their medical staff are sworn to uphold their responsibility to provide a safe environment and high quality medical care for patients. Until medical professionals begin correctly reporting medical error and working to solve this large problem in the U.S. healthcare industry, there will continue to be medical malpractice cases in the healthcare world.