Archive for the ‘medical malpractice’ Category

Research Shows Medical Errors Are Third-Leading Cause of Death

Analysis conducted by Johns Hopkins doctors finds over 250,000 deaths yearly

According to a new study, medical errors are behind only cancer and heart disease as a cause of death in the United States.

This new report, conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in The BMJ, showed that medical errors in hospitals, doctor’s offices and other healthcare facilities are much more common than previously believed. Medical errors claim over 250,000 lives annually, more than respiratory disease, accidents and stroke.

Researchers Martin Makary and Michael Daniel stated that their goal was to shed more light on a problem that historically has been overlooked despite putting thousands of lives at risk. Makary said in an interview that his investigation of medical errors included everything from poor judgment by individual doctors to more systemic problems, such as miscommunications when patients go from one department to another or one facility to another.

Their analysis was a comprehensive review of four large studies, including one by the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of the Inspector General and one by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Reporting standards do not document preventable deaths, researchers say

According to the study results, medical errors should rank third on the annual ranking of causes of death published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), behind only heart disease and cancer.

However, medical errors are currently not included in the CDC figures because of the way the CDC instructs physicians to fill out death certificates. Under current standards, the cause of death is recorded as the underlying medical issue that led the patient to seek treatment, not the medical error.

For instance, if a doctor fails to diagnose a patient at risk for a stroke and the patient subsequently suffers a stroke and dies, the cause of death is recorded as stroke, not medical error. Likewise, if a patient dies on the operating table while undergoing surgery for a respiratory illness, the cause of death is listed as respiratory disease – even though a surgeon’s error directly caused the death.

The findings of the Johns Hopkins study could have major implications, both for the healthcare system in general and for families who have lost loved ones due to medical errors. While it has long been known that medical errors can put patients at risk, this new information shows just how prevalent they are – and how difficult it can be to prove that a medical professional’s mistake caused the death.

That’s why it’s so important for friends and relatives of a patient who has died due to medical error to seek qualified legal representation as soon as possible. A caring, compassionate and experienced attorney who knows how to ask the right questions can build a strong case to bring justice after such a loss. If you’ve lost a loved one to a medical error, contact the Law Offices of James Morris.

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Hudson River “Miracle” Pilot Speaks Out Against Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a serious problem that can happen in the doctor’s office, on the operating table, or even when filling a prescription. Our medical malpractice attorneys in Buffalo have represented victims of negligence and understand how devastating medical errors can be for individuals and their families. Recently, a well-known pilot – and national hero – took up a new mission to raise awareness of the dangers of medical malpractice and negligence.

Saving all 155 lives aboard his airplane after being forced into an emergency landing on the Hudson River, Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger was thrust into the national spotlight in 2009 for his heroic efforts. Citing over 30 years’ experience as a pilot, the retired pilot is calling for urgent changes within the medical industry.

Medical malpractice an “urgent” crisis

In a recent interview with Politico, Sullenberger said that medical malpractice errors are estimated to kill up to 200,000 people a year, or “the equivalent of 20 jetliners crashing per week.”

With these medical errors strikingly common, Sullenberger said that such a margin for error would never be acceptable within the aviation industry, where pilots take hundreds of lives into their hands every flight.

“If tens of thousands of people died in plane crashes, there would be a national ground stop. Fleets would be grounded. Airports would close. There would be a presidential commission. The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) would investigate. No one would fly until we had solved the problems,” he said.

Why, Sullenberger asks, should medical professionals be held to different standards than the aviation industry?

Citing his experience in the airline industry as a model for which doctors, surgeons, nurses and pharmacists could follow to reduce medical errors, Sullenberger likened the mistakes of medical professionals to those made in airplane accidents – except without strict government regulation and preventative measures to stop such instances.

Proposed changes designed to curb medical mistakes

Sullenberger is calling for a number of changes in the way medical professionals prepare for procedures, including the use of pilot-like checklists by medical professionals. He also has proposed that raising public awareness over the dangers of medical malpractice and releasing data about medical errors could help address the problem.

In addition, Sullenberger is calling for a new method of reviewing medical errors. As opposed to blaming doctors and nurses, Sullenberger said it’s more important to examine the causes that are behind a medical error.

It’s only then, according to Sullenberger, that the situation will improve.

With the industry lacking the urgency to fix these problems, the legal representation of a seasoned medical malpractice attorney in Buffalo might be necessary if you or a loved one is injured due to a medical error. The negligent medical professional or hospital likely will fight any medical malpractice claims. With so much at stake, it’s critical to have an experience attorney on your side.

If you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice in the Buffalo, NY area, contact an experienced medical negligence attorney today. Call the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9044 for a free case consultation.