7 Less Known but Shocking Facts about Medical Malpractice

You would trust your healthcare provider with everything you’ve got, but that trust can be irreparably violated, resulting in lifelong and sometimes life-threatening consequences. We can’t even describe these as unfortunate cases given the clear blame that lies with those in charge of saving and protecting lives.

Forbes did an in-depth article on the topic of medical malpractice in America last year, which made for shocking reading. Errors arising due to the negligence or incompetence of hospital staff are all-ranging in nature. Have a read below:

The sponge left inside the surgical patient, prompting weeks of mysterious, agonizing abdominal pain before the infection overcomes bodily functions. The medication injected into a baby’s IV at a dose calculated for a 200 pound man. The excruciating infection from contaminated equipment used at the bedside. Sadly, over a thousand people a day are dying from these kinds of mistakes.”

–Stunning News On Preventable Deaths In Hospitals

Here are some lesser known facts about medical malpractice in this country.

1. Medical malpractice is one of the biggest killers of Americans, behind only heart disease and cancer.As per a report in the Journal of Patient Safety, mistakes and negligence in hospitals kill 200,000 to 400,000 patients each year.  This is only an estimate, however, and there seems to be no consensus on the final number. But suffice it to say, we have a problem on our hands.

2. Obstetrics attracts the highest number of medical malpractice claims. It stood at the top of such claims in 2013, and this year looks to be a repeat of it.

3. Surgery-related errors are the most common in medical malpractice cases. Specific and most common types include: unneeded surgery; surgery performed on the wrong part of the body; infection caused by surgery due to the use of contaminated devices and instruments during the surgery;surgery causing damage to another otherwise fine organ; wrong dosage of anesthesia.

4. Payouts in medical malpractice claims grew to $3.7 billion in 2013, which is the first time they have risen in almost a decade. New York tops the list for per capita medical malpractice payouts. Here are the figures for North Carolina.

5. While medical malpractice itself is far from uncommon, we don’t see an equivalent number of malpractice claims being filed as a result of which many wrongdoers escape punishment. The average number of malpractice claims filed each year stands at 85,000 with the number of injuries caused by medical malpractice in excess of one million.

6. Medical malpractice claims are notoriously difficult to handle, with expert attorneys needed to win you your due. One disturbing fact points to the relatively low amount of compensation being paid out to the injured in seven states. This study, though a bit dated, found that the majority of insurance claims in such cases received no compensation at all. Around 93% of medical malpractice claims don’t reach the trial stage.

However, the median payout in these claims is steadily increasing, and these are among the biggest payouts to any injury-related cases.

7. The highest compensation in medical malpractice claims is paid out to the worst kind of injuries, mostly permanent/ lifelong in nature. The lesser the physical damage to the patient, the lower the chances of the claim ending in a payout.

Medical negligence is a sad but common fact of life. Any such case requires an expert attorney to handle it, someone who is not only well-versed with the intricacies of medical malpractice but also extends a human touch to the plaintiff and their family as they wade through this harrowing time. Our North Carolina-based readers should get in touch with our Raleigh-based medical malpractice attorneys on the issue of suspected medical negligence for a free initial consultation and to know their legal rights.

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