Hospital Errors are a Silent Killer
Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) August 27, 2012 – Americans are not informed about the silent killer that stalks the health care system; death by hospital errors.
“We assume that people can and do die from strokes, cancer and like diseases,” suggested Michael Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas, “but we rarely hear about the silent specter of death that walks down the hallways in hospitals – medical errors or hospital errors. They are more prevalent that anyone wants to admit, because they don’t want to get sued.”
The leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, and right up there, along with respiratory diseases and stroke are car accidents. In fact, over 42,000 people die each year in a car wreck. The statistics are relatively silent about hospital errors that send patients out the door in a body bag, unless someone digs to find them. To say this is shocking would be an understatement, as people do not go to the hospital expecting to not come home. They put their faith and trust in their doctors.
“The unnerving statistics that reveal death by hospital error are enough to wonder what is going on in the health care system today. There are over 200,000 deaths related to nosocomial infections and medical errors that aren’t noticed and aren’t reported. That is a staggering number of people whose lives are gravely affected or end in an unexpected death. In short, the health care system is killing off patients by making mistakes,” Smith pointed out.
It would take a book to outline the astounding number of injuries that may happen while a patient is in the hospital. They may range from a doctor prescribed drug overdose to shredding internal organs during an operation, and from operating on the wrong person or body part to surgical tools left inside the body. While it defies logical reasoning to attempt to understand how such things could happen, they can and they do, which is hardly a glowing recommendation of the medical system.
“Why do hospital errors go unreported? The fact is there are only 20 states that mandate medical errors be reported. However, there is seemingly little in the way of enforcement and even less in terms of consequences. Throw in doctors that stand to lose a great deal by reporting an error, and the culture of silence continues to proliferate, even to the point of altering a death certificate. Add a hospital that stands to lose money by reporting errors and the picture gets murkier. And what about the patient you ask? Good question. That’s what I am here for,” said Smith.
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