What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is caused by the failure of a doctor/health care professional or a health care facility – such as a hospital, nursing home, medical testing facility or clinic – to meet the standard of what constitutes good medical practice in the areas in which the medical professional or facility specialize. If good medical standards are not met, a patient may be harmed as a result, and the medical professional or facility may be held liable for any resulting damages and injuries, some of which can result in lifelong medical bills, loss of income or even death.
Just How Common is Medical Malpractice?
Data shows there is a need for greater public education about medical malpractice, particularly regarding its prevalence. According to a 2004 Kaiser Family Foundation survey, over half of the survey’s respondents (57%) indicated that they were not sure what the term “medical error” meant or that they had never heard the term before. Asked how many Americans die each year as a result of preventable medical errors, again nearly half (49%) responded that they believed the figure was less than 5,000, 18% said 50,000 and 14% pegged the figure at more than 100,000.
In truth, over 225,000 people die annually due to medical malpractice, with nearly half of the deaths occurring in hospital emergency rooms, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Medical malpractice has become the third leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, a Harvard Medical School study found that over 5% of all hospital patients were injured due to medical malpractice.
While instances of medical malpractice are staggering, relatively few claims are actually filed. The Harvard Medical Practice Study found that only one in eight patients that suffers due to medical malpractice ever files a lawsuit, and concluded that medical malpractice is not accessible enough for its victims, including in the case of birth injuries as well as other instances of negligence. But still, taking legal action in cases of medical malpractice is encouraged. For one thing, no one should suffer from the abuse or negligence of another, even if they are a physician. But there is a larger issue at stake; by holding these professionals accountable for their mistakes, it will likely serve as a reminder that they should be ever vigilant. Exercising your legal rights, when the time is right, can help to make doctors and other health care professionals better at what they do – or at least more careful about committing medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Victims - Legal Help
Having been successful at representing and obtaining compensation for medical malpractice victims, Parker Waichman LLP urges you to contact us by completing the form at the right or call us at 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636) if you feel that you or a loved have been injured by medical error or negligence.