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Medical Errors Now 3rd Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

While hospitals and doctor’s offices are supposed to be places for healing, recent reports tells us that medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. After pouring over data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine say that with about 250,000 Americans dying annually, medical errors now rank just behind heart disease and cancer as the top causes of death.

Most Common Medical Errors

Recently, US News and World Report detailed the five most common medical errors. We share them with you here.

  1. Medication errors According to the Institute of Medicine, seemingly innocuous mistakes with medication hurt about 1.5 million people each year. Whether it’s the wrong drug, the wrong dosage, a bad combination with other drugs or bad reaction, the frequency of medication errors is definitely cause for serious concern.  The key to guarding against medication errors is to make a point of being absolutely clear with doctors and other medical staff about specific instructions for taking the medication and how it may impact the effects of other medication you’re already taking.
  2. Surgical errors The phrase “There’s no such thing as ‘minor’ surgery” carries a lot of truth. Simply put, all surgeries carry an element of risk. Some of the more common surgical errors include administering too much or too little anesthesia, operating on the wrong body part, improper training with medical equipment and actually leaving a piece of surgical equipment within the patient.
  3. Red blood cell transfusions Research has shown us that the more blood cells a patient receives, the higher the risk is for infection and even death and disease. While red blood transfusions are among the most common procedures in U.S. hospitals, do not be afraid to speak up and ask why such a procedure is necessary if a doctor prescribes it for you or a loved one.
  4. Birth injuries While this is supposed to be among the most joyous moments in your life, the birth of a child places the infant’s body in a vulnerable position where a host of things can go wrong – often resulting in cerebral palsy and paralysis for the baby. The mother, too, is at risk, especially those with prolonged labor and large babies. To reduce the risks, thoroughly research the facility where you plan to give birth, placing emphasis on their incident rate of birth injuries.
  5. Lab errors Mistakes in the lab can lead to a completely wrong diagnosis and the wrong treatment, leaving the initial condition untreated. Examples of this include MRIs or CTs taken incorrectly and blood sample results being falsely misinterpreted.

The Oswalt Law Firm: Fighting For Those Harmed by Others

If you feel that you’ve been a victim of medical errors, you may have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the facility that caused you harm. Remember, unlike a criminal case where the state prosecutes a wrongdoer, a personal injury suit is a civil case and requires the victim to initiate action against the negligent party. For a free consultation, call us here at The Oswalt Law Group for a free consultation. Our number is 602-225-2222.

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