A study conducted by the Institute of Medicine more than two decades ago revealed that at least 2.9% and 3.7% of the patients that were admitted to the hospital in 1999 in the United States fell victim to some type of medical errors. At least 9.8% to 15.7% of those cases resulted in a patient’s death. This means that somewhere between 44,000 and 98,000 individuals lost their lives due to a medical practitioner making some type of grave mistake when taking care of them. Certain errors happen more often than others.
Misdiagnoses and delays in identifying a patient’s medical condition are both considered diagnostic errors. Either one of these can occur because a doctor fails to properly interpret test or imaging reports, get other specialists involved, collects inadequate data or rushes to rule out certain conditions. It can also be difficult for a doctor to assign a patient an appropriate diagnosis if they’re asymptomatic or exhibiting symptoms that are consistent with a more common condition instead of a rarer one.
Wrong-patient errors are another big problem. A surgeon may operate on the wrong person or body part unless they take time out to verify a patient’s identity and the reason for their procedure before performing it.
It’s not uncommon for doctors or other medical staff to cause their patients to have complications because they prescribe them the wrong medication for their condition, too little or too much of it or one that poorly interacts with something else that they’re already on.
Industry analysts estimate that medical errors not only rob individuals of their lives, but they result in health care providers having to pay out between $17 and $29 billion in settlements to victims every year. A medical malpractice attorney can help you recover compensation for your pain and suffering, medical costs or loss if a doctor’s, nurse’s or other provider’s negligence resulted in a decline in your health or the death of a loved one here in West Des Moines or elsewhere in Iowa.