Recent Study Shows Medical Malpractice is more common than Many Believe
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Bensalem, Levittown, Feasterville and across Bucks and Philadelphia Counties, PA
Medical malpractice and misconduct is no laughing matter and in extreme cases can lead to serious and sometimes fatal patient injuries. According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago and reported on by the Washington Post, about one out of every five people are victims of medical mistakes, malpractice, or negligence. This report emphasized that “medical errors by healthcare professionals don’t just put a patient’s physical health at risk, but they can be equally damaging to a person’s mental state and financial well-being.”
The study surveyed more than 2,500 adults in the U.S. about their personal experiences with medical misconduct and errors, in addition to their knowledge of medical errors affecting friends and family members.
To the surprise of most, the study found that one of the most common places where medical malpractice and negligence occur is at ambulatory sites. The term “ambulatory sites” refers to many different types of medical centers that serve outpatient needs. Of the patients surveyed in the study, more than 20% had themselves been the victim of a medical mistake, while more than 30% “acknowledged someone else whose care they were closely involved with had been a victim.
What exactly is Medical Malpractice?
There is often confusion about exactly what constitutes medical malpractice. There is a common belief that if someone is facing a medical procedure, emergency or otherwise, and the result is less than ideal then this is somehow the fault of the doctor, hospital or other medical staff. Despite the fact that we place a lot of trust in healthcare professionals it is important to remember that they are not magicians. There are, however, very specific circumstances where the doctor, hospital or other medical staff can be held liable for injuries caused while a patient is under their care.
Legally, medical malpractice is defined as deviation from the standard of care that causes harm or when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. This negligence can be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare or health management.
Valid medical malpractice claims must have the following characteristics:
- A deviation from the standard of care – Medical standards that are recognized as being acceptable medical treatment by reasonably prudent health care professionals under like or similar circumstances is known as the standard of care.
- One or more injuries were caused by negligence – It is not sufficient that a health care professional simply violated the standard of care for a medical malpractice claim to be valid. It is also necessary to prove that an injury was suffered that would not have occurred in the absence of malpractice.
- The injury or injuries resulted in damages – It has to be proven that significant damages resulted from an injury received due to medical negligence. In short, it must be shown that the injury resulted in disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering or significant past and future medical bills.
The Myths Associated with Medical Malpractice Claims
It is a common belief that there are too many malpractice cases and that these malpractice cases are the cause of higher premiums and an alleged doctor shortage. However, this could not be further from the truth. These myths include the following assertions:
- There are far too many frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits. A recent report by the American Association for Justice showed that in reality only 1 in 8 victims of medical malpractice actually file suit. This means that medical malpractice is in reality greatly underreported.
- Medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up healthcare costs. This belief can be traced to the 1980s and early 1990s debunked study. In reality, the total cost of defending against medical malpractice claims and the paying of settlements and verdicts comprises only 0.3 percent of healthcare spending according to the above-mentioned study.
- Doctors are leaving the profession in droves due to the costs associated with frivolous malpractice claims. The truth is that being a doctor is still a very lucrative career and the number of doctors has been steadily increasing.
If someone is injured due to doctor or hospital negligence it is important that they receive the compensation that they need and deserve. It is not an understatement to say that the effects and damages caused by medical mistakes can be life-altering. It is of critical importance to have an experienced attorney at your side to fight for your rights and help you to get on the path toward being whole again.
Consult with an Experienced Med Mal and Personal Injury attorney serving clients across Bucks and Philadelphia Counties, PA
At The Law Office of Cohen & Riechelson, our legal attorneys are experienced in supporting clients across Bensalem, Levittown, Feasterville and across Bucks and Philadelphia Counties, PA who have been injured due to doctor, hospital or other health care professional negligence or malpractice.
Our direct approach ensures that clients’ rights are honored to the full extent of the law.
To schedule a confidential assessment with our firm today regarding your charge, please contact us today for a free initial consultation by dialing (215) 337-4915 or visit our website to fill out an online form.