Depending on who you ask, medical mistakes kill an estimated 250,000 to 440,000 patients in the US each year. Numerous studies have found that medical mistakes are very common in hospitals, doctors’ offices and other health care facilities. A new survey published by the NORC at the University of Chicago shows how common medical mistakes are and how they affect patients.
Twenty-one percent of respondents reported personally experiencing medical mistakes. Seventy-one percent among this group claimed the mistake had a long-term impact on their finances, family relationships, health and emotional well-being. Forty-two percent of these respondents reported receiving an apology for the mistake.
The survey also asked this group of respondents why they believed the medical mistakes occurred. Sixty-nine percent believed a lack of attention to detail was responsible for the mistakes. Another 50 percent believed their health care providers made errors due to being overworked or tired. An additional 47 percent believed poor communication was the culprit.
Other suspected causes of medical mistakes included a lack of patient engagement. Survey respondents believed their providers had not listened to them or failed to provide directions that could have helped prevent the errors.
Who is Liable for a Medical Error?
The results of this survey are not shocking for experienced medical malpractice attorneys. Doctors, nurses, lab technicians, hospital administrators and other health care practitioners can be responsible for causing medical mistakes. Hospital policies and administrative choices could be factors.
Whether the error is the result of medical malpractice depends on the circumstances. A medical malpractice claim requires an extensive investigation. Our law firm has a long history of helping victims of medical mistakes and their families. If you or a loved one were harmed by a medical mistake, then you should discuss your situation with a medical malpractice attorney at our law firm as soon as possible.