8 Facts You Didn’t Know About Medical Errors In The US.

We’ve all seen the statistics: medical malpractice is one of the biggest killers in America. Something like 300,000 Americans are killed each year by their health system. And the situations only seems to be getting worse.

That’s why we’re going to investigate some of the facts about medical negligence in the US. These facts will both shock and enlighten you. It’s time to get educated.

 There Is A Hardcore Of Super Dangerous Doctors

You might think that malpractice was spread fairly evenly over the medical profession. After all, doctors have been through roughly the same training. But you’d be wrong. As it turns out, there is a hardcore of doctors against which most malpractice claims are made.

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en.wikipedia.org

 According to the best statistics, about 5 percent of doctors are responsible for about 54 percent of the total malpractice claims. But what is so surprising is that only about 8 percent of doctors with more than two payouts has been formally disciplined.

The problem, however, is that so many people are affected by the issue. As this law firm online notes, errors can be made in diagnosis, treatment and post-op care.

The Average Malpractice Payout Is Going Up All The Time

Some good news for patients is that the average amount paid out in medical malpractice cases is increased all the time. These awards were quite modest back in the 1990s. But each year the amount awarded increased. By 2000 it was up to $125,000.

But, even though the total amount paid out in each award has gone up, the total payouts are low. The medical sector in the US is vast. It’s about $3 trillion dollars at the moment. And that’s a conservative estimate. But the total number of medical payouts was less than one percent of this figure. In other words, despite the enormous numbers of Americans affected by the issue, few are getting compensation.

 Some Americans are receiving huge payouts. But these people often have very clear-cut claims. And, more importantly, there aren’t a lot of them.

Malpractice Suits Only Have A Tiny Influence On Doctor’s Income

Some people worry that rising litigation will eat into the wages of doctors. And while this is a concern, it has not been borne out in reality. Quite the contrary. The trend is actually towards much lower litigation costs, compared to doctor’s salaries. Over the last twenty years or so, the cost of medical care has gone up by around 200 percent. But the costs of medical claims have only been about half of that.

It means that doctors are actually seeing a declining portion of their income going to medical payouts. This figure is sitting at around 4 percent right now.

The fact that premiums are rising so rapidly means that doctors have been protected from increasing litigation. Yes, doctors are paying out more money. But the amount they are paying out is not growing as fast as medical bills.

Most Of The Time Errors Are Mundane, But Not Always

The headline figure of 300,000 deaths per year caused by the medical system is shocking. But, of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of other people who have been affected by malpractice.

But what is perhaps surprising is that most of the errors that lead to those deaths are mundane. Yes, there are incidents where surgeons have left scalpels inside patients. But these cases are rare. Far more common is for patients to die of something far more mundane, like bedsores.

The Cost Of Medical Negligence To Society Is In The Billions

Of course, it’s not just the death of the victim that is a cost to society. It’s all the costs associated with people being treated with the wrong medicine. People lose time at work. When they get back to work, they are less productive. And they are also likely to cost more if they have been permanently injured.

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www.pexels.com

Estimates for the total cost of medical malpractice vary from source to source. But they range upwards of $17 billion per year – a significant sum.

Medical Negligence Is The Third Leading Cause Of Death

I bet you could guess the two leading causes of death in America if you were pushed. It’s heart disease and cancer. But just below them isn’t Parkinson’s or gun injuries. No – it’s medical negligence. The 300,000 figure mentioned in the intro is a big number. Deaths from cancer are running at about 500,000 per year, so that puts negligence into perspective. Medical negligence is the third leading cause of death.

And that isn’t surprising when you consider some of the other statistics around the average hospital experience. About 1 in 3 patients will be the victim of some type of error during their stay in hospital.

 Your Likelihood Of Being A Victim Isn’t Random

This is perhaps the most sinister of all the facts we’ve discussed today. But the statistics bear this one out. They say that the likelihood that you’ll be a victim isn’t random but depends on who you are. If you’re black – sorry, you’re more likely to be a victim. If you’re old – sorry again. You’re also more likely to be a victim of medical malpractice.

Why this happens isn’t well known. It could be down to unconscious biases of the doctors themselves. In other words, they don’t pay as much care and attentions when dealing with some patients.

It could also be because these people have worse medical care in general. Whatever it is, it’s a bit scary.

Malpractice Leads To Career Burnout

One of the reasons why there is so much malpractice is because doctors are constantly stressed and nearing burnout. We’ve all heard horror stories about how junior doctors have been forced to work through the night. Of course, if you’re forced to work through the night, you are going to make mistakes.

Medical malpractice issues are often cited as a leading cause of career burnout for doctors. But it’s also a leading cause of depression among doctors themselves. None of this, of course, makes things any easier for patients.

 

 

 

 

LisaLisa

Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

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