Medical errors, such as doctor mistakes, medication mix-ups and infections acquired in hospitals, are now the third-leading cause of death in Illinois and around the county. After analyzing health data gathered over a period of eight years, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine determined that medical errors kill about 250,000 Americans each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists respiratory diseases, which claim about 150,000 lives each year, as the country’s third-leading cause of death.
Common medical mistakes
The medical mistakes most commonly made by doctors include failing to make a timely and accurate diagnosis, prescribing drugs that prompt a dangerous reaction, delaying necessary treatment and not providing adequate follow-up care. Hospital patients suffer setbacks and sometimes die when objects are left inside their bodies during surgery, they are given too little or too much anesthetic, they catch a dangerous infection, or hospital staff fail to monitor their progress following a procedure.
Human error and communication issues
When researchers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality looked into the causes of medical errors, they found that human errors and communication mishaps were the most common culprits. Their findings suggest that human mistakes often occur when doctors or nurses ignore or fail to properly follow policies and procedures, and communication issues are often the result of poor information flow.
Holding negligent doctors and hospitals responsible
Patients who suffer injury and loss because a hospital or doctor provided inadequate care may seek civil remedies by filing medical malpractice lawsuits. When pursuing this kind of litigation, experienced personal injury attorneys may ask medical experts to review health care records in order to identify errors and procedural lapses. They may then be able to use this evidence to establish that the care provided did not meet generally accepted standards and was the direct cause of their client’s injuries.