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Why Do Medical Errors Cause So Many Deaths?

Patients throughout New York are at significant risk of medical negligence in hospital facilities. In the United States, medical errors are the cause of more deaths than AIDS, plane crashes, car crashes, outbreaks of new disease, drug overdoses, and breast cancer. As a recent article on Vox reports, various studies show medical errors as either the third leading cause of death in the United States or the ninth leading cause of death in the country. A New York medical malpractice lawyer knows that many of these medical errors could be prevented if doctors are care providers followed better protocols and provided more skilled patient care. Unfortunately, mistakes continue to happen frequently despite the known risks associated with medical negligence. sala-de-parto-04-845206-m

Why Do Medical Errors Cause So Many Fatalities

Vox took an in-depth look at why so many fatalities in the United States occur because of medical error.

The article suggests that there are two different categories of medical errors: mistakes that happen when doctors set the wrong path or plan for care, like prescribing an incorrect medication; or mistakes that happen when the right care plan is created but is not followed correctly, like a procedure operating on the wrong body part.

When mistakes happen, patients are often not told about the fact that an error occurred. Most doctors are embarrassed about errors, or they worry about being sued. As a result, studies have shown that only one in five doctors disclosed the most serious medical mistake that they had made over the past year. The lack of discussion about medical error is one possible reason why so many deaths occur. Since mistakes aren't discussed, it isn't seen as a pressing issue for the healthcare industry to address, nor is there the opportunity to collectively work together to try to find solutions for the problem.

The financial structure of the healthcare system may also be another reason why medical mistakes result in so many fatalities. Providers typically get paid on a fee-for-service basis, which creates an incentive to provide more treatment or testing. With more treatment and testing, there are more chances for mistakes to be made in the provision of care.

Lack of adequate information on the scope of the problem is yet another reason why medical errors may cause so many fatalities. Researchers have tried to assess whether hospitals are safer, but system-wide data on medical mistakes is not readily accessible and there is little standardization in terms of what data hospitals must provide. This means some facilities may choose to submit records that make error rates look lower than they actually are, thus underestimating the scope of the problem and making it harder to identify causes of deaths and solutions for fixing them.

While there are obstacles inherent in correcting the widespread medical malpractice leading to patient deaths, efforts must be made to make improvements. Patients should not need to be worried that going into the hospital will significantly increase the likelihood that they won't survive the treatment they receive.

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 and schedule a free consultation today.

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