Many patients in Mississippi have suffered personal injuries as a result of medical malpractice. Though negligence may not always be the cause of medical errors, it nonetheless presents an issue that needs to be addressed. A harrowing fact reported by CNN is that most medical errors go unnoticed.
In the article, CNN referenced a study by doctors at John Hopkins, claiming that medical errors may account for more deaths in America than even bronchitis and emphysema. To accept this as truth is also to accept that this would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, right behind heart disease and cancer.
In fact, the doctors estimate that each year 251,454 people die as a result of medical errors in America. In addition to this, the doctors believe that when you account for deaths in nursing homes, that number could soar even higher. This certainly reflects poorly on the health industry, so why would two doctors share these figures? They say their hope is to inspire real reform in health care.
One of the flaws noted by one of the doctors relates to death certificates. Currently, when filling out a death certificate, answers must match up to predetermined billing codes for insurance purposes. This limits the ability to include medical errors on record as the cause of death.
According to CNBC, who also referenced the study, there are some steps patients can take to help protect themselves. Here are a few of them:
- Requesting second opinions from other practitioners
- Bringing an advocate along
- Asking questions
Medical errors, medical malpractice and negligence are not the responsibility of the patient. Nevertheless, any actions patients can take to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to the results of under-skilled or overworked staff may be worth considering.