The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has named March 10-16, 2019 as Patient Safety Awareness Week. The annual initiative fosters heightened communication around topics related to consumer safety, awareness, and education. A significant aspect of this platform centers around discussions regarding medical errors and malpractice, which can happen due to both negligence and recklessness.
Medical malpractice is more than just widespread; it is an epidemic. Research suggests that as many as 440,000 people die as a result of preventable medical errors every year in the U.S. Despite these staggering numbers, studies indicate serious patient harm is even more common than lethal patient harm, meaning many patients are alive after medical mistakes but live with life-altering effects, including disability, disfigurement, and mental trauma.
Without doubt, the devastating results for individuals who experience medical malpractice, and their loved ones, can include short-term and long-term physical and emotional problems. This does not touch any significant financial stress in the form of wage loss and medical bills.
The High Cost of Medical Malpractice
It is impossible to put a price on a human life. Still, St. Clair County medical malpractice lawyers know it is important to try to recover appropriate damages for those adversely affected by medical mistakes. It is also important to recognize that each medical malpractice lawsuit is unique.
In terms of dollar amounts, successful medical malpractice lawsuits can result in millions in compensation. One Illinois health system paid no less than $160 million to victims of medical mistakes in 2016, according to a Crain’s Chicago Business article. Another article from an Illinois watchdog advocacy organization estimated the total payout for medical errors across public hospitals in the state to total roughly $180 million. Medical error lawsuit damages range widely depending upon the extent of patient harm. The more severe the injury, the higher the damages are likely to be. Not surprisingly, medical malpractice-linked deaths routinely push damages into higher ranges.
According to a 2016 analytic study published by the BMJ, medical error represents one of the top three causes of death in the United States. Ironically, death certificates do not list medical error as a cause of death, making it sometimes difficult to determine whether a fatality is related to medical malpractice, such as planning errors, bad medical personnel judgment, omissions during treatment, or similar situations.
Types of Medical Errors
Medical mistakes can happen in any type of clinical or hospital setting. Some of the more frequently reported medical errors involve diagnosis mistakes or delays, drug dosage errors, equipment failure, surgical errors, post-operative care mistakes, and surgery on the wrong site. However, any medical mistake that harms a patient can be the basis of a medical malpractice claim.
Patient Safety Awareness Week offers a time for individuals and communities to openly address medical malpractice issues and help decrease the number of people affected by medical errors. The weeklong concentration on medical mistakes may also urge potential medical malpractice victims and their family members to seek legal guidance.
St. Clair County Medical Malpractice Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Advocate for Victims of Medical Negligence
If you or someone you care about has been affected by a medical mistake, please contact a St. Clair County medical malpractice lawyer at The Cates Law Firm, LLC. We offer free consultations during Patient Safety Awareness Week and throughout the year to help injured individuals and their families. Contact us at 618-277-3644 or use our online contact form today. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Belleville, Edwardsville, and St. Clair County.