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One-Sixth of All Hospital Deaths Occur from Avoidable Mistakes

Medical malpractice is a serious problem in the United States, as evidenced by numerous studies evaluated in an article shared on Lawyers and Settlements. According to one analysis, more than 400,000 American deaths are linked to hospital mistakes that could have been prevented altogether. Referred to as preventable adverse events (PAE's), these incidents could be avoided by better reporting methods and a stronger awareness of patient needs during and after hospital care.

One man went to the hospital because of chest pains and shortness of breath. He later ended up dying because he did not receive necessary care, something which was avoidable had the nurse simply reported known complications.

What are these preventable adverse events that are occurring?

There are five common types of errors that occur during a patient's hospitalization. Unfortunately, research indicates that many PAE's are not reported in medical records by physicians and that cardiologists are some of the biggest offenders.

Most preventable errors fall into one of these five categories:

  • Error of commission: medical action is wrong or improperly executed
  • Error of omission: medical action should have been taken, but was not
  • Error of communication: miscommunication between doctors or doctor and patient
  • Error of context: underlying factors were not considered pre-treatment
  • Diagnostic errors: results in delayed or incorrect treatment

When referring to medical malpractice, these errors often come to mind as the direct cause of patient injury or death. Sadly enough, the Office of Inspector General stated that 86 percent of medical malpractice incidents were not even reported by staff members of the hospital.

There is no question about it – preventable hospital errors should be prevented. While this problem is in large part being addressed by certain hospitals throughout the U.S., patients should be aware of the potential risks they face. If you or a loved one suffered because of a mistake that could have been avoided by your medical care providers, please don't hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Michael D. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates. The firm has represented thousands of patients and may be able to do the same for you.