Medical Malpractice: Medical Errors Cause 440,000 deaths annually

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According to a newly released study published in the Journal of Patient Safety, as many as 440,000 Americans die each and every year as a result of preventable medical errors. That makes medical malpractice this country’s third leading cause of death, costing consumers billions of dollars in health care.

John James, PhD, founder of Patient Safety America, addressed the congressional Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging on July 17th. Dr. James called on the government to establish a stand-alone committee on improving patient safety and establish a National Patient Safety Board to investigate patient harm. James also suggested passing a national patients’ bill of rights that would include the following rights for patients: ” legally defined and enforced right to give genuinely-informed consent; to know the safety record of their physician, outpatient clinic, nursing home and hospital; to know costs for tests and elective procedures before hand; to transparent accountability in the case of an adverse event; to evidence-based care; to know when drugs are prescribed off-label; to be warned about bad lifestyle choices; to have an advocate present while hospitalized; to care by teams of professionals that build individual and team excellence through 360-degree performance reviews. ” The reviews would be anonymous reviews by patients, subordinates, colleagues and leaders.

We have previously written about misdiagnosis as a leading cause of medical negligence claims.

Dr. James testified that that patient safety in the United States will not substantially improve without an enforced bill of rights. He pointed out that, while this country has a high per capita expenditure for healthcare, our healthcare industry ranks last when compared to healthcare systems in other developed countries.

Dr. James became a patient safety activist in 2002, following the death of his 19 year old son from a preventable medical error.

The Ohio medical malpractice attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List have successfully represented many clients who have suffered injury or death as a result of medical negligence. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of a medical provider, contact Clark, Perdue & List.