Our Pennsylvania residents may be familiar with a 1999 Institute of Medicine report which found that nearly 98,000 people annually died from preventable medical errors. This IOM study highlighted the serious issue of medical errors. Nearly 15 years following this finding, despite steps to minimize medical errors and improved patient safety, any Philadelphia Surgical Errors attorney will agree that medical mistakes still happen.
In fact, according to the findings of a recent study conducted in the neighboring State of Massachusetts, approximately a fourth its populations indicated that either they themselves or a loved one had experienced a medical mistake in the last five years. Furthermore, nearly 50 percent of those who reported a medical error stated that the error caused serious health issues. However, researchers found that many patients or their families who had experienced a medical error believed that reporting the error would not help.
The types of medical errors experienced by patients were a medical condition being misdiagnosed, incorrect test, treatment or surgery being performed, inadequate or incorrect follow-up instructions being given to patients, wrong medication being prescribed, and an infection following surgery occurring. Misdiagnosis was identified as occurring with the highest frequency. Though this survey was conducted in Massachusetts, the findings of the survey are likely similar what might happen at in Pennsylvania.
Though improvements in addressing preventable medical and surgical errors have been made, unfortunately they still happen causing patients serious harm and, in some cases even resulting in death. Healthcare providers have a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care. And when a healthcare provider fails to provide the necessary care or provides negligent care, and harm results then a patient who has suffered harm may be entitled to compensation.
Source: The Boston Globe, “Medical errors in Mass. still common, study finds,” Kay Lazar, Dec. 2, 2014