“We have an epidemic of medical malpractice, not of medical malpractice lawsuits.”
– Tom Baker, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania.
When we go to a doctor or hospital to treat an illness or injury – or to simply follow up on worrisome symptoms – we trust that they will do everything in their power to make an accurate diagnosis and provide us with appropriate treatment. If surgery is required, we likewise trust the surgeon to perform it with all the skill and care that is required of their profession.
Most of the time, this trust is rewarded. Unfortunately, in other cases, a doctor’s medical mistake or negligence can result in an even greater injury or illness on a patient, and sadly in some cases, cause death. If you or one of your loved ones has been the victim of medical malpractice, our experienced medical malpractice lawyers at the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick can help you fight for the justice and fair compensation you deserve.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
Every year, medical errors kill as many as 98,000 people in the United States, and injure countless more. Medical negligence is the sixth leading cause of death in the nation. Additional medical malpractice statistics to consider are:
- Research from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that there were 197,000 severe injuries attributable to medical negligence in 2008 growing roughly at the rate of 1% per year.
- The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates that there are 15 million incidents of medical harm each year. Medicare patients age 65 and older who experienced medical negligence have a 1-in-5 chance of dying as a result.
- According to a 2012 study released by the Department of Health and Human Services, only 14% of all medical mistakes are reported by hospitals.
- For inpatient incidents, surgical errors account for the most medical malpractice claims (34%).
- For outpatient incidents, diagnosis errors account for the most medical malpractice claims (46%).
Despite these staggering statistics, much of the debate surrounding medical negligence claims and law has focused on the cost of doctors’ insurance premiums instead of preventing medical mistakes. The right way to lower healthcare costs is to implement programs that help prevent negligence from happening, and hold doctors accountable for errors, not to do away or limit the innocent patient’s remedies for the harm done to them.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice comes in many forms, including:
- Birth injury – Two to seven infants out of every thousand suffer injury during the childbirth process. Some of these injuries can be anticipated and avoided by an attentive doctor. Unfortunately, negligence or error during pregnancy, labor, or the birthing process can cause preventable birth injuries that lead to lifelong disabilities, such as cerebral palsy and/or Erb’s palsy.
- Surgical errors / Wrong site surgery – An inattentive surgeon may leave an instrument (such as a sponge) inside of the patient’s body, or perform surgery on the wrong body part.
- Hospital errors and infection – According to the CDC, many hospital employees neglect to follow standard infection control policies. Hospital-acquired infections cause 90,000 deaths each year, a 36% rise since 1980. This is partly due to the proliferation of bacteria today, which is capable of resisting even the strongest antibiotics, but in many cases an infection is due to lack of proper practices to prevent these bacteria from being transmitted to the patient.
- Misdiagnosis or late diagnosis – Failure to diagnose cancer is one of the most devastating examples of medical negligence. The survival rate goes down significantly when cancer is allowed to develop without treatment. This type of mistake often results in wrongful death.
- Prescription errors – If a patient receives the wrong medication and is injured as a result, they can file a medical malpractice claim against either the doctor who prescribed the medication, or the pharmacist who erroneously filled the prescription.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, filing a lawsuit is important not only to help you pay for your losses, but also to hold doctors and the healthcare industry accountable for negligence. Many careless doctors have a history of negligence and malpractice. By holding them responsible through a malpractice claim, you can prevent other patients from suffering as you did.
Attorney Stuart Plotnick has many years of experience helping victims of medical malpractice recover the compensation they need and deserve to move forward with their lives. If you suspect medical malpractice caused your injury or illness – or the death of a loved one – please contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick today to schedule your free initial consultation.
We represent medical malpractice victims throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.