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New York Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Hold Medical Industry Accountable

Victims who suffer the consequences of medical negligence need to pursue a medical malpractice claim so they can obtain compensation. There are actual financial expenses as well as non-monetary losses associated with medical errors and a medical malpractice attorney in New York can help victims to pursue a damage claim. 

Obtaining money, however, is not the only reason to sue a doctor or a hospital for poor quality of care. As a recent Forbes article points out, sometimes medical malpractice lawsuits are a catalyst needed to change a system that is not working to protect the health of patients.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Can Help Improve Patient Care

When a patient experiences a medical mistake, there are few options available. A patient could file a complaint with the Joint Commission on Accreditation if a problem is experience in a hospital. However, the Joint Commission published an annual report in 2012 indicating that only 33 percent of accredited hospitals have achieved a "top performer" rating and only 182 total hospitals in the United States have managed to be classified as top performers for three years in a row. Further, there are another 2,400 hospitals in the United States that are not even accredited.

It is a problem that hospitals are not living up to basic standards because patients are dying. The National Institute of Medicine estimates that 300,000 people are hurt and 98,000 people die in hospitals each year, although other estimates put the number of deaths closer to 200,000.

In 2004, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement launched a "100,000 Lives Campaign" in which hospitals were asked to make a commitment to six evidence-based interventions that could help reduce the deaths that occurred. However, Forbes indicates that the "medical community's resistance to reform is notoriously passionate."

Only 2300 hospitals participated in the campaign, with participation defined as implementing at least one out of the five changes. In 2006, another campaign, the "5 Million Lives Campaign" proposed 12 safety interventions to save lives. This time, only 2000 hospitals agreed to implement all of the suggested interventions.

Professional associations have also proved reluctant to make changes to improve patient care. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists refused to formally adopt 21 changes that had been tested and implemented by the New York Presbyterian Hospital during the period of 2002 to 2009 even though the changes reduced the risk of unanticipated injury-causing events from 1.04 per 1,000 deliveries in 2000 to zero per 1,000 deliveries in 2008 and 2009.

Medical malpractice claims have worked in the past to force change that may otherwise not occur. In 1982, there were a series of large malpractice lawsuits against anesthesiologist which prompted the American Society of Anesthesiologists to conduct a comprehensive assessment of problems and revamp procedures. After changes were proposed and implemented, the 10-year death rate from anesthesia complications dropped from 1 in 6,000 administrations to just one death in every 200,000 administrations.

Because a malpractice claim could potentially save future lives as well as provide you with compensation for losses, you should never hesitate to take legal action.

For more information about how a medical malpractice attorney in New York can help you with your medical malpractice case, contact Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC. Call 212-736-0979 or visit http://www.jcreiterlaw.comand schedule a free consultation today.

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