Medical errors are mistakes in medical care that can be prevented regardless of whether the error is harmful or obvious to the patient. High personal injury errors in the medical field occur most often in intensive care units, emergency departments, and operating rooms. If you’re a New Jersey resident, this information will let you know if you or your loved one have a personal injury case due to a medical error.
Medical errors and fatalities
According to the 1999 report “To Err is Human” from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), around 98,000 iatrogenic deaths occurred during this time which made it the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In 2010, this statistic doubled to 180,000. The most recent study, which was conducted in 2013, indicates that there are 210,000 to 440,000 deaths annually due to personal injury connected to a medical error. This means that iatrogenic deaths are now the third leading cause of death in the US, after heart disease and cancer. It is important to note that these numbers are estimates since medical records are often incomplete or inaccurate, and medical providers may not readily disclose errors.
Most common medical errors
In order of occurrence, the most common medical errors leading to personal injury in the US are adverse medication events, CAUTI or catheter-associated urinary tract infection, bloodstream infections from a central line injected into the patient, injury from immobility and falls, adverse obstetrical events, pressure ulcers, infections at the surgical site, blood clots, and pneumonia associated with ventilator use.
Some patients may also experience inaccurate cancer treatment or surgery performed at the wrong site. These issues can have legal consequences and possibly justify compensation for affected individuals and families.