According to a May 2016 report published by Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. While those diseases claimed over 600,000 lives each in 2014, medical mistakes cost at least 250,000 people their lives that same year. Researchers are urging the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to include medical errors as the official cause of death in vital statistics reporting. If the CDC follows through with the recommendation, the actual number of preventable deaths in this category could be significantly higher. Some of the leading causes of death from medical errors include:
- Operating on the wrong body part or the wrong patient
- Failure to order the correct diagnostic testing
- Avoidable delay in providing treatment
- Failure to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury
- Failure to act on test results in a timely manner or at all
- Inadequate monitoring after a medical procedure
- Providing patients with inadequate instructions before a medical procedure
- Inadequate follow-up or delay when complications arise
- Avoidable delay in making a diagnosis
- Incorrect dosage or method of medication
As you might expect, doctors and other medical professionals aren’t exactly behind the push for accurate reporting of fatal medical errors. Because it is uncomfortable for them to admit such serious mistakes, the patient’s death certificate may not be entirely accurate. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for you to prove medical negligence if you have lost a loved one.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Due to Medical Errors
When a family member dies due to the negligent actions of medical care providers, you have the option of filing a wrongful death lawsuit against them. The same laws that apply to other types of wrongful death lawsuits also apply in this situation. You must be able to prove fault by the medical professionals and file the claim within two years of the date of death. Additionally, you must be a spouse, parent, child, or sibling of the deceased or someone who was financially dependent on him or her prior to death from a medical error.
This type of lawsuit is one of the most emotional and complex that we handle at Wilson, Frame & Metheney. If you have suffered an avoidable tragedy due to a medical mistake, we are here to help.