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What’s the Annual Death Rate from Medical Errors?


The question in our headline is actually one that was recently asked of consumers by researchers here in the U.S.

The most common answer they got… 5,000 a year.

That’s not even close.

The actual number may be as high as 800,000 deaths per year from medical malpractice and drug-related injuries – just in the U.S.

What’s more, the number of those suffering harm short of death may number in the millions per year when one includes medical malpractice (including surgical errors) and death from drug side effects.   The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates the rate of medical harm to be over 40,000 each and EVERY day.

Here are some of the more disturbing facts*:

  • Hundreds of thousands of patients are harmed annually by a medical misdiagnosis.
  • 500,000 people are hospitalized annually in the U.S. for bedsores they developed during prior care.
  • Medication errors harm as many as one million patients in the U.S. annually.
  • Sepsis and pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections kill 48,000 patients per year.
  • Many patients fall while hospital in-patients and as many as 3 out of 4 nursing home residents fall annually.

And then there are events like these: a sponge left inside a surgical patient, prompting weeks of terrible pain before the infection overcomes bodily functions… or a medication is injected into a baby’s IV at a dose calculated for a 190-pound adult… or an excruciating infection from non-sterile equipment used at the bedside.

Are errors always disclosed?

Sadly – no.  According to current estimates – only 30% of patients harmed by medical malpractice are ever informed of that mistake by their physician.

So what’s a patient to do?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Always ask lots of questions when your physician recommends a new treatment or surgery.  Talk about all the risks and benefits – including drug side effects and interactions. And ask whether lifestyle or dietary changes might actually fix the problem.
  • When in doubt – always seek a second opinion.
  • Whether you are going for an in-patient or out-patient procedure – try to investigate the safety record of the facility you are planning to use.

If you or a loved one is ever the victim of a surgical error, a defective drug, the improper prescription of a drug therapy, over-exposure to medical radiation, a hospital-acquired infection, a fall while in the hospital, a preventable blood clot, or a misdiagnosis, call a qualified Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer.  A knowledgeable malpractice attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases over our 60 years serving the people of Connecticut.

What’s more, our Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers have received local and national recognition for our handling of these cases.

We have a great team of legal experts dedicated to medical malpractice in Connecticut. 

Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.


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