An often overlooked issue, medical mistakes are a leading cause of death
in the U.S. according to a recent Johns Hopkins Medicine study.
For any number of reasons, people in Ohio and elsewhere regularly require
medical care. When patients go in for treatments, they typically expect
that their medical providers are acting professionally, respectfully and
with their best interests in mind. However, medical mistakes are an all
too common occurrence in all types of health care settings. In fact, a
recent study suggests that medical errors are among the leading causes
of death in the U.S.
Common Medical Errors
In doctor’s office, hospitals and other medical settings, there
are typically protocols in place that are aimed at ensuring patient safety.
Despite these types of safeguards, there are numerous doctor errors that
frequently occur, including the following:
- Providing the wrong medication dosage
- Filling the wrong prescription
- Using contaminated or defective equipment
- Neglecting to monitor patients’ vital signs
- Performing the wrong surgical procedure
- Operating on the wrong patient or body part
Due to these and other medical mistakes, patients may suffer added or worsened
medical conditions. In the most severe cases, such errors may prove fatal
Examining the Occurrence of Medical Error-Related Deaths
Recently, a group of patient safety experts from The Johns Hopkins University
performed a study to glean a better understanding of medical mistake-related
deaths in the U.S. They published their findings in The BMJ. For the study,
the research team examined the data obtained in four other medical death
rate studies that were performed between 2000 and 2008. The researchers
then utilized 2013’s hospital admission rates in order to reason
how many deaths each year occur as a result of medical mistakes.
Medical Errors Are a Leading Cause of Death
Per a Johns Hopkins Medicine report, there were 35,416,020 total hospitalizations
in 2013. Through their analysis, the researchers extrapolated that medical
errors contributed to 251,454 deaths in 2013. Based on these findings,
the research team submits that medical mistakes are the third leading
cause of death in the nation. Heart disease was the top cause of death
in the U.S. in 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports
that it led to 614,348 deaths. Contributing to 591,699 deaths in 2014,
cancer was the second leading cause of death.
Despite their frequent occurrence, medical errors are not listed on the
CDC’s leading causes of death list. This is because the methods
the agency utilizes to collect national health statistics and classifying
medical mistakes. The research team is pushing the CDC to update the criteria
it uses to classify causes of death on death certificates.
Working with an Attorney
When medical mistakes occur in Ohio and elsewhere, patients may suffer
worsened medical conditions or death. Consequently, they may require additional
treatment and care. This may lead to a range of losses, including lost
income, undue medical expenses or funerary costs. In order to understand
their rights and options, those who experienced such situations may benefit from
consulting with a legal representative.