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New study shows prevalence of avoidable medical mistakes

Ohio residents who visit a doctor, a medical center or hospital for treatment for a medical illness, condition or other concern will believe they are doing the right thing. This is generally an advisable strategy to get the proper diagnosis and adequate treatment to confront and address the health issue. However, it is an unfortunate truth that medical mistakes happen all-too frequently. These can cause a person's illness or condition to worsen, it can spark other problems separate from the original medical concern or it can even lead to a fatality.

There might be a vague understanding that medical errors happen, but a new study shows just how often it happens and how deadly it is. People who have been injured, gotten ill or lost a loved one because of this should remember they may have the right to seek compensation in a lawsuit. In the study by Johns Hopkins University, 34% of medical malpractice filings were due to misdiagnosis. The results of these medical errors led to the victim being permanently disabled or dying. In addition, misdiagnosis was the most common, expensive and risky occurrence.

In the study, more than 55,000 cases were analyzed. It showed that almost three-quarters of the worst errors happened with three conditions: infections at 13.5%; vascular issues at just shy of 23%; and cancer at nearly 38%. According to the lead author, people are not simply inconvenienced by these mistakes, but they can cause severe health complications and death.

Another worrisome factor is that more than 50% of the errors occurred with females. Other studies have shown women to be vulnerable to medical mistakes for a variety of ailments. This research comes on the heels of recent research, including some that was released four years ago, saying that as many as 80,000 people in U.S. hospitals die each year due to diagnostic mistakes. The study places the responsibility on physicians and the systems in which they work.

It can be difficult to understand what medical professionals say and do when they are taking care of a person or a person's loved one. It is automatically expected that they are being accurate in their assessments and know the steps to take to help the patient. Unfortunately, this study and others indicate that a failure to diagnose, a fatal medical error and other missteps are prevalent. Those who believe they or a loved one was injured because of medical malpractice may want to get more information about their legal rights.

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