The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Medical Errors Are a Leading Cause of Death

Did you know that medical errors are now the third most common cause of death in the United States? They rank only behind heart disease and cancer, and kill an estimated 700 people per day. This is crazy! Seeking medical care should not be as scary as the illness you are seeking care for!

It is unclear what the exact rate of medical errors is here in Monmouth County, or even in New Jersey as a whole since that data is almost impossible to get a hold of. However, we do have data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on how many medical malpractice payments were made in New Jersey each year from 2004 to 2014.

Year

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Number of Medical Malpractice Payments

754

924

720

678

676

818

646

645

663

708

609

 

These numbers are not good, but if you think you have been the victim of medical malpractice they tell you something important: you are not alone and there is something you can do to hold the responsible parties accountable.

When a medical error happens to you, it can feel like you should just let it go. “It was just a fluke.” “Accidents happen.” “I’m sure the doctor/nurse/dentist/psychiatrist/surgeon/whatever was doing the best they could.” “They said they were sorry.” There are all things I’ve heard from clients that were trying to talk themselves out of bringing a malpractice action even though they were upset enough about what happened to consult with an attorney.

Yes, sometimes you should just let it go, but sometimes you should stand up for yourself and other patients. If you or a loved one was injured, you deserve to be compensated for it. You also deserve to be able to send a message to whoever injured you or your loved one that what happened was not okay, and that is not okay if they injure someone else because their work is sloppy or just plain wrong.

It is important to take a minute to note that malpractice does not always result in death. Misdiagnosis is a form of malpractice. Performing a surgery that is not actually necessary is malpractice. Giving you the wrong medicine, or prescribing experimental drugs is malpractice. Nursing home neglect is malpractice. These things are not okay, and patients should not be pressured by the medical community into thinking they are either directly or out of a general sense that people who work in healthcare have hard jobs and should be given a break.

Medical malpractice happens. And it happens at a much higher rate than most people think. So if it happens to you, take heart in the fact that you are not alone, and remember that there is something you can do to hold the responsible parties accountable.


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