Deaths From Doctor Errors Higher Than Most People Anticipate

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On behalf of Hastings Law Firm posted in Doctor Errors on Tuesday, February 10, 2015.

Most people in Texas tend to guess that the number of deaths related to or caused by an error in medical care is pretty low. With the average response coming in at about 5,000 deaths from doctor errors per year, that guess is significantly lower than the real number. Estimates by researchers have put that figure as low as 44,000 and as high as 98,000 deaths per year.

So what’s going on in hospitals that leads to such a high death rate from negligent care? A surprising figure from a 2006 survey demonstrates that even seemingly innocuous complications such as bedsores can have a devastating impact. About 500,000 people are sent to the hospital every year for serious complications related to bedsores. Of those admitted, nearly 60,000 won’t make it out of the hospital alive.

Research also dug up some surprising figures concerning surgical errors, including nearly 30 patients who received the wrong operation altogether between the years of 1990 and 2010. There were thousands of additional incidents of surgeons cutting into the wrong body part or operating in the wrong area of the body. During that same time period, surgeons sewed up foreign objects in patients over 4,800 times.

While these figures may be shocking, they are not the only two pieces of what may be a very large and complex puzzle. Doctor errors often go unreported, and the vast majority of victims and their families are never told that there was a mistake in care. Even if victims or their loved ones were never explicitly told of an error, when Texas families suspect that there was a serious lapse in a victim’s care, they can still take action to pursue justice. This is typically most successfully accomplished through a medical malpractice claim that has been navigated to a satisfactory settlement or award.

Source: vox.com, “Medical errors in America kill more people than AIDS or drug overdoses. Here’s why.”, Sarah Kliff, Jan. 29, 2015

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