Preventable Medical Errors are Still Killing Patients

Every year nearly 100,000 Americans die for no good reason.  They are the victims of medical mistakes that could have been prevented.


The issue of preventable medical mistakes was brought to light about ten years ago in an Institute of Medicine report entitled “To Err is Human”.  The report triggered a number of reform efforts aimed at protecting patients and reducing the number preventable medical deaths and injuries.


However, even ten years later the picture is grim.  A report issued this month in the journal Heath Affairs rates patient safety issues since 1999 a B minus.  The report stated that although error reporting and quality initiatives have improved patient safety, a number of other issues continue to plague the medical community.


What issues are still contributing to preventable medical mistakes?

  • Slow implementation of technological innovations
  • Unintended consequences of technological changes
  • Implementation challenges in deploying new technology


Some safety changes like a 2005 initiative to prevent ventilator-assisted pneumonia and related conditions made an impact in patient safety, as have initiatives to cut down on central line infections.


However, these successes are more exceptions than the norm.  Despite major technology improvements in hardware, software and networking, the healthcare industry has not been successful in leveraging these advancements to crack down on preventable mistakes.


According to one doctor, there continue to be wrong-site surgeries, prescription drug mistakes (prescribing the wrong drug, filling the wrong prescription, prescribing the wrong amount, prescribing a drug that interacts with one of the patient’s other drugs, etc)., and unexpected and unnecessary deaths.


Preventable medical mistakes are a major source of medical malpractice lawsuits.  Patients who are injured because of a mistake that a doctor, nurse, chiropractor, physicians assistant, dentist or other medical professional makes deserve to be compensated fairly; the families of those killed by a medical error that should never have happened also deserve compensation.


You can read more about medical malpractice in our law library articles, including:


To discuss a medical malpractice case in Virginia or North Carolina, please contact the law offices of Tavss Fletcher today.



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