Articles Tagged with medical error

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New bills spearheaded by the GOP could make it harder for victims of medical negligence and medical malpractice to secure fair compensation for their injuries. As part of the House Republicans’ efforts to replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, these bills would place new limits on lawsuits that involve doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes, and would likely be most harmful to low-income and elderly victims.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer claims the bills will lessen “frivolous lawsuits that unnecessarily drive up health care costs.” This idea–that health care would be affordable if only the government could curb all of the “frivolous” lawsuits attacking good doctors hospitals–is not only false, it is also dangerous. GOP Republicans have made countless attempts to limit the rights of medical negligence victims, but have failed consistently because the rights of victims to seek justice in the court system is guaranteed in the US Constitution.
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All of us depend on doctors and hospital workers for treatment when we are sick or injured. Many times they are successful, saving our lives or the lives of our loved ones. But hospitals are far from infallible. 195,000 people die each year in American hospitals due to potentially preventable medical errors. The following guide will give you the information you need to avoid being one of those statistics.

Before you Get to the Hospital:
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Bringing suit for compensation against a doctor who, through his or her own negligence, caused you or a loved one injury is a fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens. Unfortunately, this right has been under attack for years.

As a result, the road to recovery for patients in medical negligence cases is far more difficult and expensive than it once was. Well-documented barriers, such as the high costs of trying a medical malpractice case (injured victims must hire a medical expert before filing suit) and reduced attorney fees on recovery have effectively barred lesser but legitimate injury claims from ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. In addition, hiring a medical expert to testify is not always easy because physicians who testify against other physicians risk being shunned in their profession going forward.

Sadly, we now write about a new barrier to injured victims.
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Earlier this year, we covered an analysis published by the BMJ that identified preventable medical errors as the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.

Recently, a study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that nearly one third of patients admitted to rehab centers experience illness or injuries as a result of their medical care.

Dr. David Classen, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah School of Medicine who played a key role in the study, stresses the importance of taking immediate steps to curb medical errors. “If the first rule of health care is ‘Do no harm,’ then we’re failing,” Dr. Classen said.
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Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiles a list of the most common causes of death among Americans. This list is significant—it helps raise public awareness about particular health risks and it steers national research priorities. It is also inaccurate.

The CDC bases its rankings on data derived from death certificates, which assign an International Classification of Disease code to each cause of death. However, to this day there is no ICD code that corresponds to medical errors.

This omission is no accident. Preventable medical errors have been known by the healthcare industry to be a leading cause of death since at least 1999, when the Institute of Medicine referred to the 98,000 annual deaths they estimated were due to errors as an “epidemic.”
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