Medical malpractice in the United States is a much bigger problem than most citizens are aware of. While in 1984 it was estimated that 98,000 Americans per year died from medical errors, today that number is somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000. Even more patients suffer through the negligence and live to tell the story.
There are more than a few ways in which medical malpractice takes place in the United States. Here are just a few:
Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
A misdiagnosis of a condition or illness could be devastating for a patient — treatment opportunities might be missed that could prevent serious harm, or death. It is sometimes the case that a doctor will diagnose an illness or injury too late, when the symptoms were there all along. While this can sometimes be an honest mistake, there are professionals who have the knowledge and experience to make an educated diagnosis and fail to do so out of incompetence.
It is not uncommon for surgeons to make negligent mistakes during routine and serious operations. There have been numerous stories of surgical instruments left within patients’ bodies after procedures have ended. Even worse, some professionals perform surgery on the wrong area of the body, or remove a wrong part or organ.
Drugs and Alcohol
Many patients are unaware that over 100,000 medical professionals abuse prescription medications every year. Some doctors have caused serious problems for patients while intoxicated on the job – paralysis and comas being some of the most devastating resulting diagnoses, besides death.
Today, patients, professionals, and even celebrities across the nation are fighting for a patient’s right to responsible and capable care from doctors and physicians. Most recently, the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act has been introduced as a California ballot measure to tighten the state’s patient safety laws. In addition to raising the cap on compensation for the victims of medical malpractice, medical professionals will be subjected to random drug and alcohol tests, just as is required of aviation pilots, bus drivers, and professional athletes.
The Pack Act will be included on the November ballot, come election time. Californians are encouraged to support the Act, and take control of their safety in hospitals. For too long, lives have been left in the hands of negligent and intoxicated professionals. What do you think? Please share your thoughts with us within a comment below.