Medical Malpractice: How Many Die From Medical Mistakes
Sharp pain in her abdomen would cut short the vacation of a young mother who was rushed to a Florida hospital to have her appendix removed. In the night and morning that followed her surgery, her doctor and nurses failed to notice her falling blood pressure and elevated heart rate.
Dr. Sukanya Dunphy – a doctor, of all things, herself from Chicago – bled to death.
Records show that insurers settled the malpractice complaint against Dr. Ernest Rehnke, the surgeon who performed appendicitis on Dunphy, for the $250,000 limit of his policy. The hospital was forced to squander up another $1 million.
Malpractice complaints are not new to Dr. Rehnke. In this decade alone, insurers have had to settle at least 14 cases against him including six in which a patient died during or after surgery.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rehnke continues to operate. What’s more troubling is that he is not alone.
Perhaps, you did not know that thousands of doctors across the United States – many of whom are in Florida – are on probation and more are under review; yet, continue to practice after making careless and, sometimes deadly, medical errors.
Determining who these negligent doctors are is next to impossible. In other words, what patients don’t know about their doctors can not only hurt them but lead to their deaths.
If doctors are permitted to practice despite previous violations, a report that medical errors result in more than 250,000 patient deaths in the United States each year should come as no surprise.
That’s what researchers at Johns Hopkins claim in a study, but other investigators say those figures may be as high as 440,000. The reasons for the discrepancies are two-fold.
For one, researchers claim poorly coordinated care is often overshadowed by the seriousness of the disease or condition in determining what caused the death. And another is that fatalities that result from medical error are not noted on death certificates.
Most doctors, nurses, and staff are caring professionals who take their roles in healthcare seriously. But, don’t lose thought that they are human as well. And that means any professional who works in today’s highly complex healthcare system will be subjected to the potential for medical errors – in hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, pharmacies and even in a patient’s home.
Any number of incidents can provoke a medical error, and blame can be pointed in many directions. Common medical errors and incidents of malpractice are often attributed to:
- Poor Communication
- Misinterpreted Lab Reports
- Exposure to Infection
- Faulty Medical Devices and Equipment
- Failure to follow medical protocols
Consider the physicians who depart from standard surgical techniques, dismiss critical medical observations from colleagues, fail to answer pages to assist critically ill patients, and disregard hospital protocols, policies, and procedures that result in unnecessary complications, injuries, or the premature and wrongful death of their patients.
Many hospitals, for their part, try to keep pace with new technology that advances patient safety, but medical errors persist. Think about the hospitals that fail to provide adequate staffing; maintain medical devices, equipment, and electronic healthcare records systems effectively; or neglect to address the risk of infection from other patients in their care.
Of all medical errors, poor communication is the most common, but the easiest for a doctor and patient to prevent.
If doctors and patients share information better, the likelihood of incomplete or incorrect medical histories or misinterpreted, lab reports will result in fewer inaccurate diagnoses.
Not all medical errors will take place on hospital grounds. A heavy backlog of prescriptions might cause a pharmacist to submit the wrong medicine or dosage to a patient.
One report claims 30 million Americans are the victim of outpatient medication errors each year.
To prevent further medical malpractice and patient complications, reporting errors are essential. But, what happens when senior healthcare administrators circle the wagons to dismiss claims of impropriety?
Is the reputation of a hospital of greater value than the well-being of millions of patients who put their trust in the hands of their doctors, surgeons, and staff?
The malpractice attorneys at Shiner Law Group do not think so.
Patients who have died or suffered greater harm because of medical errors and negligence and their families deserve justice. At a time when fewer attorneys are interested in accepting malpractice claims when smaller potential payouts are anticipated, Shiner Law Group believes every wrong deserves to be righted.
If you or a loved one has suffered from inadequate medical care, the civil litigators at Shiner Law Group can file a lawsuit on your behalf in circuit court or help you pursue a complaint through Florida’s regulatory agencies.
Your assertions need to be heard. The financial compensation that you seek for your physical pain and emotional suffering will, perhaps, more importantly, serve as an incentive for healthcare providers to better monitor patient care and reduce the chances for unnecessary medical errors.
About Shiner Law Group
Founded on the principles of dedicated service, honest communications and competent and aggressive representation, Shiner Law Group, based in Boca Raton, serves individuals and business in civil cases throughout Florida including Palm Beach, Broward, Martin, and St. Lucie counties. If you have suffered unnecessary physical or financial harm, you have the fundamental right in the State of Florida to choose an attorney. Call Shiner Law Group at 561-777-7700 for a free consultation, 24/7.