Medical malpractice can threaten the health, life, and finances of a patient, and it’s a danger whenever a medical worker is careless or complacent. Unfortunately, however, there is also quite a bit of misinformation about malpractice, and many people have misconceptions. Here at Scott Mullin’s and Company, we want you to know the truth—so here are some of the most important statistics about malpractice.
The American Medical Association estimates that there are roughly one million injuries due to malpractice every year, and as many as one-quarter of them end in death. Of those deaths, roughly 12,000 are due to surgical mistakes, 80,000 are from infections, 106,000 are due to adverse effects of medication, and 20,000 are due to other errors. According to Forbes, medical malpractice is the third biggest cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.
Trauma and Injuries
Many nonfatal malpractice cases can leave lasting damage. Becker’s Hospital Review reports that of malpractice cases brought in 2012, significant permanent injury occurred in almost half of cases, with 12% of these injuries requiring lifelong care. Minor permanent injury occurred in 8% of cases, and major temporary injury happened in another 7%. The most common causes of malpractice claims were:
- Surgery (36% of inpatient cases)
- Incorrect diagnoses (46% of outpatient cases)
- Anesthesia errors
- Incorrectly administered medication
- Injuries during childbirth
Medicalmalpractice.com says that on average, hospitals only report malpractice in 14% of cases, so many patients will have to take the initiative to resolve the issue. However, only about 15% of personal injury claims nationwide are for malpractice, and only about 85,000 malpractice suits are filed each year. That means that only about one in eleven medical malpractice victims sue, despite the fact that about one million people a year are directly affected by medical mistakes.
Of course, the vast majority of doctors and hospitals perform their jobs correctly and “do no harm” to their patients. But if a doctor is careless or makes mistakes, the consequences can be lasting and severe. If you feel that you’ve been harmed by inadequate medical care, Scott Mullin’s and Company can help—contact us at 513-381-3579.