There are over 200,000 deaths each year related to medical errors that go reported.
“People can and do die from strokes, cancer and similar diseases,” said Michael Smith, an injury and accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas, “but we rarely hear about the silent specter of death that walks down the hallways in hospitals: medical errors. They are more prevalent than anyone wants to admit because they don’t want to get sued.”
The leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, followed closely by respiratory diseases, stroke and car accidents. The statistics are understandably difficult to unearth about hospital errors that result in death.
“The unnerving statistics that reveal death by hospital error are enough to make one wonder what is going on in the health care system today. There are over 200,000 deaths related to nosocomial infections and medical errors that aren’t noticed and aren’t reported. That is a staggering number of people whose lives are gravely affected or end in an unexpected death. In short, the health care system is killing patients by making mistakes,” Smith said.
There are an astounding number of injuries that may happen while a patient is in the hospital; they range from a doctor prescribed drug overdose to shredding internal organs during an operation, operating on the wrong person or body part, to surgical tools left inside the body. While it’s difficult to understand how such things could happen, they can and do.
“Why do hospital errors go unreported? The fact is there are only 20 states that mandate medical errors be reported. However, there is seemingly little in the way of enforcement and even less in terms of consequences. Throw in doctors who stand to lose a great deal by reporting an error, and the culture of silence continues to proliferate, even to the point of altering a death certificate. Add a hospital that stands to lose money by reporting errors, and the picture gets murkier. And what about the patient you ask? Good question. That’s what I am here for,” said Smith.
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Michael Smith is an injury and accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas. Learn more by visiting