Do you assume that medical mistakes happen rather infrequently and that most doctors tend to do a good job during most of their cases? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Most people do think of major medical errors — especially fatal ones — as infrequent events.
However, recent studies have shown that these mistakes are far more common than many people realize, and they could pose a very real threat. It’s important to understand how much of a threat it poses to the population and what family members of victims can do in response.
A leading cause of death
For instance, take a recent study that looked at the leading causes of death in the United States. Here are the top three:
- Heart disease
- Medical errors
The first two causes come as no surprise. It’s well-known that heart issues and cancer take an incredible amount of lives every year, in part because those are wide categories. Cancer can come in various forms such as the typically survivable skin cancer to something with a higher fatality rate such as mesothelioma. Heart disease can lead to heart attacks, strokes and many other issues.
However, the study indicates that over 250,000 people in the U.S. die from medical mistakes. Some reports had higher numbers such as 440,000, but the numbers heavily vary as some death certificates left out valuable information that provides more insight into how these people passed away.
Taking necessary precautions
One of the most recommended options for patients dealing with serious conditions is to get a second opinion. Doctors may have spent years in medical school training to help people, but they are still prone to human error. The second doctor could discover crucial information about the patient that the first doctor potentially overlooked.
If a family member suffers from medical malpractice, it is also important to know someone who has legal experience in dealing with the subject. They can help build a strong case to help you receive maximum compensation for the doctor or hospital’s critical errors.