You would think that when you enter a doctor’s office or hospital you’re in good hands. And to be completely fair, that would be the case the majority of the time. However, there are alarming rates of medical malpractice taking place in the United States and it would appear as if those rates are increasing. So says David Goguen, who on MedicalMalpractice.com, reveals some startling statistics about the unfortunate phenomenon.
The majority of patients who encounter medical malpractice are female. This was found by a 2006 New England Journal of Medicine study that examined 1,452 resolved medical malpractice cases involving malpractice insurance carriers all over the country. It revealed that 60 percent of the victims were female, with a median age of 38 years old. One-fifth of these individuals were newborns, while 12 percent of them were over the age of 65.
Medical malpractice cases impact all areas of health care. “There is a fairly even distribution when it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits being filed against certain kinds of health care providers,” writes Goguen, “In the NEJM study detailed in the above paragraph, obstetrician-gynecologists (OBGYNs) were the defendants in 19% of cases, with the next most common defendants being general surgeons (17%) and primary care physicians (16%).”
Too few instances of medical malpractice cases are being reported by health care facilities. Unfortunately, there seems to be a great discrepancy between the number of medical malpractice cases impacting our nation and the number of them that actually get reported by health care providers. Goguen writes that, according to a 2012 study released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, treatment errors and other mistakes made in the provision of health care to Medicare patients are reported by hospitals in only 14% of cases.
Incorrect diagnosis and surgery errors top the list of medical malpractice occurrences. How frightening it must be for patients to hear of horrible health diagnoses only for them to be later realized as inaccurate. Even worse, of course, is the experience of entering surgery with the hope of a healthier and more fulfilling life only for an error to occur that worsens the situation.
“For inpatient incidents, surgery errors accounted for about 34% of medical malpractice claims, checking in as the most common basis for a claim,” informs Goguen, “On the outpatient side, errors in diagnosis made up about 46% of all medical malpractice claims (data from the JAMA study mentioned above).”
Medical malpractice is costing the country billions of dollars. In 2009, a Congressional Budget Office Report revealed that the total costs to healthcare providers, resulting from medical malpractice liability was $35 billion in that year alone. Costs included malpractice insurance, settlements, awards and administrative costs that were not covered by insurance. “This figure represented 2% of the total healthcare expenditures across the U.S. for that same year,” reports Goguen.
At Allegiant Experts, our team of clinical experts is very interested in speaking to attorneys who represent patients who have suffered due to medical malpractice. We’re committed to both reducing the number of medical malpractice incidents in our country and bringing to justice those who are guilty of them. To learn more about our clinical expert services or our experience with hospital and medical malpractice cases, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 407-217-5831.