Doctors, nurses and pharmacists are among the most highly skilled and trained workers in the United States. People literally put their lives in the hands of the medical professionals that provide them with care, usually with positive results. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals make the best decisions 100% of the time.
Doctors, nurses and other medical workers can make mistakes that have direct implications for the patients under their care. Although you might assume that medical mistakes are uncommon, they happen much more frequently than you might imagine. In fact, they are one of the top causes of death in the United States.
Research shows that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of adult death
It can be difficult to determine the exact number of medical malpractice cases that occur each year, including the ones that result in death. Neither individual medical practitioners nor medical facilities are eager to take direct responsibility for the death of a patient. Some actively try to hide their mistakes, which can skew statistics in their favor.
The relatively conservative estimate produced by Johns Hopkins in 2018 after an analysis of records determined that approximately 250,000 people in the United States die every year as a result of medical mistakes. That figure makes medical mistakes the third leading cause of death in the country.
However, other estimates about medical mistakes show that the total deaths per year could be as high as 400,000. When someone dies because of a medical mistake, their family is often left with unanswered questions, large medical bills and loss of income that they have trouble adjusting to.
Families have rights after fatal medical decisions
Medical malpractice laws don’t just protect the people who get directly hurt by medical mistakes. Victims of medical malpractice can bring lawsuits against the doctors or facilities involved in their inadequate care, but those rights also extend to the surviving family members of people who died because of medical mistakes.
Pursuing a medical malpractice claim after a fatal medical mistake, like a surgical error or misdiagnosis, can help your family recover financially from its loss and also hold the medical professionals involved in your tragic situation accountable for their actions.