It has been more than 20 years since the release of the shocking government report titled “To Err is Human.” This study indicated that the annual number of deaths due to medical errors was approximately 98,000. We have since learned the number is likely much higher, and that very little has happened to lower the death toll since then. At Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt P.A., our Hawaii medical malpractice attorneys want to discuss what progress, if any, has been made to reduce medical mistakes.
Blame it on stubbornness. Blame it on the inability of people to agree on what type of technology to use to sync medical records. Blame it on whatever you want, but the fact is that medical mistakes are a major problem. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in this country. Estimates put the total annual death toll of preventable medical errors at approximately 250,000 people, though some researchers say the number is much higher. In reality, millions more are harmed due to medical errors each year. These patients are left dealing with the aftermath.
Science has invented new cures and tools to fight diseases, but it has yet to give us a system to cut the number of medical errors. Despite being the third leading cause of death in this country, there are no marches or fundraisers to stop medical errors. Funding for research on preventing medical mistakes is negligible compared to the money spent on other diseases like cancer and heart disease.
A recent study indicated that more than half of doctors showed symptoms of burnout and that they were twice as likely to report a diagnostic or other medical error in the previous three months. Another study shows that the increase in technology has also increased the demand for complex imaging. Radiologists at one institution saw a 10-fold increase and the number of images they took from 1999 to 2010. This resulted in radiologists getting only four seconds to review each image. Approximately 4% of interpretations by radiologists end up having an error.
The increase in technology will not stop, but medical professionals need to stop and find a way to make this technology work for them instead of simply trying to keep up. Patients’ lives are at stake.
If you or somebody you love has been harmed due to a preventable medical error, seek legal assistance immediately. At Kurzban, Kurzban, Tetzeli & Pratt P.A., we are ready to help you secure any compensation you are entitled to. Our team will investigate your case and work to secure the following: