If you have been reading our Fayetteville, North Carolina, personal injury law blog for awhile now, you might be somewhat concerned about driving knowing that far too many accidents are caused by distracted, negligent and drunk drivers every year on our roads. After all, traffic accidents are one of the most common causes of accidental death in the U.S. But did you know that medical malpractice is the sixth leading cause of accidental death in our country?
According to the Institute of Medicine, about 98,000 deaths are caused by medical errors every year in the U.S. Thousands of other patients suffer serious or debilitating injuries as a result of hospital negligence and medical malpractice. And every week, about 40 surgery patients have an operation performed on the wrong body part.
Like car accident victims, victims of medical malpractice are often entitled to obtain compensation for their injuries. Unfortunately, many Fayetteville patients and other patients throughout the country don’t even realize that they are victims of medical malpractice because hospitals and doctors often fail to report errors or hide medical errors. This means that thousands of victims and their families who are harmed by medical errors every year never recover compensation for their pain, suffering, medical expenses and other damages.
Recently, a surgeon from Johns Hopkins Hospital published a book that explains how common medical mistakes are, why doctors try to cover-up mistakes and what can be done to prevent common mistakes from harming so many patients in the future. In his book, the surgeon explains that doctors need to be more honest with patients and their colleagues. When mistakes become more transparent, the medical community can do more to address how to prevent and avoid similar mistakes from happening. The surgeon writes, “To do no harm going forward, we must be able to learn from the harm we have already done.”
Additionally, when patients are more aware of how common medical mistakes are, they can also take a more active role to avoid becoming victims of medical malpractice.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us,” Marty Makary, Sept. 21, 2012