Medical Mistakes Still Killing, Injuring, Thousands in Virginia Each Year

Everyone agrees that "mistakes happen" but when a Virginia hospital or other medical entity makes that mistake in your treatment, you might well ask, "Why me?"  No one wants to deal with a disease, a sudden illness, or injuries from an accident.  Yet sometimes we must do just this and we accept the challenges presented us.  However, when one of these events is complicated by a mistake someone else made, what was a serious problem can begin to look like an impossible one.


In a 1999 study, the Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 Americans died as a result of mistakes made by hospitals.  On top of that, an additional million may have suffered some kind of injury through a medical error.  This study put medical facilities on alert: something must be done to improve the numbers.


So, it is no surprise that a study just released in April of 2011 by Dr. David Classen at the University of Utah has shocked those who expected the situation was improving.  This study indicates that as many as one in three people admitted to a hospital experience some kind of "adverse event" and that up to 90% of medical errors go unreported. 


Classen's team looked at 795 medical records at three hospitals.  They found that 354 of these patients had been injured, picked up infections or been the victims of medical mistakes.  These results were ten times higher than the actual cases of medical mistakes reported voluntarily by hospitals. 


Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, said in an interview, "Without a doubt, we've seen improvements in health care over the past decade, but overall progress has been agonizingly slow."  Some, including Dr. John Santa, of Consumer Reports' Health Ratings Center, say that hospitals have "actively opposed public disclosure" about mistakes hospitals make.  He continues, "People have a right to think they're going to get better when the go into the hospital, not worse."


If you or a loved one has been hospitalized in southeastern Virginia or northeastern North Carolina and have been the victim of a medical mistake, you are not alone.  Approximately one in three Americans has had a similar experience.  Be sure you get help.  With over 100 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Tavss Fletcher stand ready to help.  Call us today at (757) 625-1214 and get the caring help you need.