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Fatal Medical Malpractice Statistics

When medical mistakes occur in Massachusetts, the results can sometimes be fatal. Contrary to what many in the health care field say, many experts feel there are far more cases of medical malpractice deaths that are admitted to by health care providers. When examining the latest statistics and studies conducted on the matter, it becomes clear the numbers quoted by the health care industry are far too low.

While in 1999 the Institute of Medicine reported an estimated 98,000 patients die yearly from medical malpractice, in 2010 that number nearly doubled to 180,000 after a study conducted by the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services. While that number itself is startling, new numbers from the Journal of Patient Safety make any previous numbers pale in comparison. According to the Journal’s study, it’s estimated that between 210,000-440,000 patients die each year as a result of medical malpractice. If these numbers are correct, that would make medical malpractice fatalities the third-leading cause of death in the United States, trailing only heart disease and cancer.

Based on the data, most of the fatalities result from errors occurring during or after surgery, improper medications being given to patients, improper dosages of medications being given, or the doctor failing to order the necessary tests needed to correctly diagnose the patient’s condition. In many hospitals, the number of medical malpractice fatalities increased with doctors who were treating far more patients who were on Medicare. While the reasons for this were not always clear, experts from the National Institute of Health noted that many of the patients were older and suffered from serious conditions prior to being admitted, so it was possible these patients did not receive as high a level of care as younger patients on other insurance plans.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital, after conducting their own study of medical malpractice fatalities, concluded that many of the deaths resulted from a lack of transparency and communication among doctors, nurses, and other staff. Improper medications, incorrect dosages of medications, and failing to have certain tests conducted were all due many times to a lack of staff communication.

While no two medical cases are exactly the same, those who have had family members die from what they believe to be medical malpractice should speak with an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney or a MA medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to learn what legal options they have available to them.

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility

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