A study by the Society of Actuaries in 2010 estimated that the cost to the U.S. economy in 2008 for medical errors was approximately $19.5 billion. About 25% of the costs associated with medical injuries were the result of avoidable medical errors. In 2008, there were 6.3 million medical injuries of which 1.5 million were due to medical errors.
Medical errors contributed $1.1 billion in lost productivity (including more than 10 million excess days missed from work due to short-term disability) and $1.4 billion from increased death rates. Seven percent of hospital inpatient admissions were due to a medical injury.
Approximately 55% of the total medical error costs were the result of pressure ulcers, postoperative infections, mechanical complications of devices, implants, or grafts, postlaminectomy syndrome (back surgery), and hemorrhages (bleeding) complicating a surgical procedure.
The study was based upon an analysis of an extensive claims database. Therefore, the total economic impact of medical errors is greater than reported.
The Society of Actuaries is an educational, research and professional organization dedicated to serving the public, its members and its candidates, whose mission is to advance actuarial knowledge and to enhance the ability of actuaries to provide expert advice and relevant solutions for financial, business and societal problems. (An actuary deals with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty. Actuaries mathematically evaluate the likelihood of events and quantify the contingent outcomes in order to minimize losses associated with uncertain undesirable events.)
Now that you know how common and expensive medical errors are in the U.S. and to the U.S. economy, perhaps you may feel differently when an avoidable medical error has caused you or a loved one injuries and additional expenses. To speak with a medical malpractice lawyer in your area, visit our website or call toll free 800-295-3959.