People generally think of medical malpractice as a rare occurrence. When they hear a story about a surgeon amputating the wrong leg, for instance, they assume it’s the exception to the rule — and it is true that these extreme examples are rare. They happen, but they really get traction because they make good headlines, not because they happen all the time.
That said, studies have definitely found that medical malpractice is a lot more common than people assume. That’s worth keeping in mind the next time you go to the doctor or to the hospital.
Is malpractice really the third-leading cause of death?
For instance, consider a report from John Hopkins. It claims that the third-leading cause of death in the United States is medical malpractice.
When it came out, people were shocked. Heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death is no surprise, nor is cancer at No. 2. But medical errors ranking No. 3 for the cause of premature deaths definitely turned some heads, especially among those who thought it would be car accidents, gun violence or something of that nature.
The reality is that medical errors are just so widespread and variable. It’s not always a doctor making a direct error, such as a botched surgery or a missed diagnosis. It could be as simple as forgetting to give a patient their medication on time or mixing up medical records and giving someone a drug that they weren’t supposed to have. Errors happen in any industry, but lives are on the line when they happen in healthcare.
Can you take action if you or your loved one suffered from medical malpractice?
If you have been injured or lost a loved one to medical malpractice, you can take action. You need to know what legal options are at your disposal. Usually, the best thing to do is to reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you better understand what steps to take next.