One in three Americans have reported that they or a family member had been a victim of medical malpractice. One in five reported that a medical error caused serious health problems or death. The pervasive problem of medical errors resulting in unnecessary additional hospital stays and additional medical expenses caused the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2008 to list eight “reasonably preventable” secondary conditions (including “never events”) for which Medicare would not pay and the patients could not be billed (the hospitals and other health care providers would have to absorb the additional costs). These include wrong-site surgery, transfusion with the wrong blood type, air embolism, decubitus ulcers (also referred to as bedsores or pressure ulcers), falls and trauma, hospital-acquired infections associated with catheters or surgery, retained foreign bodies during surgery, and manifestations of poor control of blood sugar levels. Medicare’s efforts to reduce medical errors by refusing reimbursement for such medical expenses is expected to be a strong incentive for hospitals to make serious efforts to reduce errors and is expected to save Medicare at least $21 million per year. Despite such efforts, a report released by the U.S. government in 2010 found that one in seven Medicare patients are injured during hospital stays and that adverse events contribute to 180,000 deaths each year, costing the U.S. government $4.4 billion per year. One survey found that 70% of patients who suffered from a medical error were not informed about the error.
Studies have shown that most medical malpractice claims are meritorious and that 97% involved medical injury and 80% involved serious disability or death. Many more claims that involved medical error were not paid compared to claims that were paid and did not involve medical error. About 26% of medical malpractice claims involve death, 15% involve major physical injury, 39% involve significant physical injury, and 17% involve minor physical injury, emotional injury, or lack of informed consent. Medical malpractice cases filed in the courts represent only 2.8% of the cases filed, and that number has declined by 15% over the past ten years. Only 21.5% of victims of wrong-patient and wrong-site surgeries proceed with medical malpractice claims. Many victims of medical malpractice bring claims mainly to find out what happened to them because their health care providers did not advise them of the medical errors.
When medical errors or medical mistakes are the cause of your injuries and suffering, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Visit our website to be connected with local medical malpractice lawyers who may be able to help you with your claim or call us toll free at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.