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Studies cite medical error as continuing cause of injuries

Balancing law suit reforms with patient safety can be a tightrope act. Those in favor of reforms argue that frivolous medical malpractice claims drive up costs and insurance rates. However, two recent studies indicate that far too many patient injuries in Oregon and across the country may be caused by negligence on the part of doctors and medical care providers.

According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, around 98,000 deaths a year are caused by medical errors. Another report by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) indicates that U.S. surgeons operate on the wrong body part as often as 40 times a week.

The causes of patient harm can be many. In some instances, an injury may arise as the result of a physician or hospital staff member failing to act properly or respond in a timely manner. A misdiagnosis or the improper use of medical devices can also lead to patient harm. Other causes of injuries may include fatigue of hospital staff or physicians, lack of experience, a failure to follow hospital policies, or poor training and miscommunication.

If a mistake was made, the result can be devastating and irreparable. In some instances, the resulting injuries to a patient may require extensive medical intervention and could even result in the need for long-term care. The cost for such care and treatment will likely be significant. If you are facing these expenses, you may be able to obtain compensation by filing a medical malpractice law suit.

A patient has a legal right to receive professional treatment. If you have been harmed as the result of your doctor’s negligence or mistake, you should consult with an attorney about your legal rights. An attorney can help you prepare the best evidence to prove that your doctor was at fault.

Source: Public News Service, “Michigan Senate: Patient Safety vs. Malpractice Concerns,” Mary Anne Meyers, May 22, 2012