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Medical malpractice takes a toll on the public

Ohio residents likely appreciate tools that the medical community has created to fight disease. Still, medical errors committed by doctors and hospital staff affect the American population.

Medical errors are not new; over two decades ago, a landmark government report showed the substantial toll medical errors have had in the United States. This report led to hearings and public attention.

According to that report, over 98,000 people die every year because of medical errors. Recent reports put the annual death toll at twice that amount in the United States. This means that 1 out of every 20 patients experiences avoidable harm while visiting the hospital. Twelve percent of these individuals will have a permanent disability or will die.

Most people receive a wrong diagnosis at least one time in their life. Three-fourths of these wrong diagnoses are for cancer, infection and vascular events. This results in more than $1.8 billion in malpractice lawsuits every year.

Some ask why advances in medical technology do not prevent medical malpractice. Unfortunately, several technologies cause more problems than they solve. Doctors and nurses have access to so much information that they have to spend twice as much of their time with their screens as with their patients. This leads to burnout, which could cause them to make mistakes.

Technology is also providing solutions to medical malpractice. Artificial intelligence uses specialized algorithms to analyze images and improve the detection of abnormalities. Machine learning allows computers to identify errors that overworked and burned-out medical professionals might miss.

Victims of medical malpractice may face a challenging future as they are mentally, emotionally and physically scarred. They may require extra recovery time and have medical bills. A lawyer may be able to help clients get financial compensation for their injury. A lawyer may negotiate with insurance companies and work to reduce the time their clients need to wait before getting financial compensation.

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