Medical Mistakes Are Incredibly Common
If you believe that you or a loved one may have been the victim of a medical mistake, you are certainly not alone. According to a truly shocking study released in 2017 by researchers at Johns Hopkins, medical mistakes are (at least, in non-pandemic times) the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Per that study, an estimated 250,000 deaths occur in the U.S. annually as a result of medical errors. This figure does not take into account hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of medical mistakes that result in non-fatal harm to patients each and every year.
As an experienced medical malpractice attorney – including those who practice at Cohen & Cohen – can confirm, it is rarely easy to say with certainty whether a medical practitioner or facility has committed an error that has led to patient harm. Sometimes, healthcare providers are aware that they have made a mistake but do not reveal this information because they are afraid of the consequences of doing so. Sometimes, providers are unaware that a mistake has been made. In either case, patients are frequently kept in the dark about information concerning errors that have affected their care.
With that said, attorneys who focus part of their personal injury practice on medical negligence cases tend to be well-versed in investigating scenarios in which errors may have contributed to patient harm. As a result, it is important for patients who believe that they may have suffered as a result of medical errors to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Uncovering the truth, whatever it may be, helps to ensure that patients can make informed choices about whether to file legal action.
It is also important to understand that not every medical error is legally actionable. Sometimes, mistakes occur that are no one’s fault. However, if a mistake occurred because a practitioner or facility was not providing a patient with the professional standard of care expected in a given situation and a patient suffered harm as a result, that patient may have strong grounds upon which to file legal action. Patients whose medical negligence claims succeed are often entitled to significant economic and non-economic damage awards. Pursuing compensation in this way helps to ensure that victims of medical errors are not saddled with the financial burdens associated with these mistakes. Instead, those responsible are held accountable for those costs.