Every year more Americans are killed by medical mistakes than died in the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, and both Iraq wars, combined. Deaths by medical mistakes are estimated to be as low as 90,000, and as high as 440,000 EVERY YEAR according to independent studies from organizations such as The Journal of Patient Safety.
Medical malpractice is the third largest contributor to deaths in America. The vast majority of these mistakes are totally preventable, and the vast majority are never admitted to patients or their loved ones. People are convinced that there are far too many med-mal lawsuits, but the truth is that if only half the deaths caused by medical negligence were to result in lawsuits, then the rate of lawsuits would increase 1000%. Only a fraction of victims ever have a chance for justice.
The truth is that hospitals almost never admit their mistakes because they want to avoid taking responsibility. Often it’s not the doctors or nurses who refuse to admit mistakes, or try to cover up their mistakes. Many of these individuals are good people who were negligent for various reasons, including being overworked, tired or simply diverted. Some of them are incompetent, but most are not. Rather, it is hospital administrators and insurance carriers who are guilty of denying victims justice. For these “bean counters” the issue is not patient care or safety – it is the bottom line… profits. Just like G.M.
It is not just a matter of doctors and nurses staying silent, or looking the other way. Records are changed or destroyed; families are misinformed about the circumstances of the death. When a patient dies or when a patient who was harmed by an act of malpractice request medical records, it triggers a review by “risk managers” – people employed by hospitals to short-circuit lawsuits. Their entire focus is on denying victims justice, although they would say they help avoid “frivolous lawsuits.” I have been involved in numerous cases of med-mal where records were changed after the fact to deceive the victims.
It is a rare situation when a doctor or nurse is incompetent or deliberately harms a patient, but it is not a rare circumstance when hospital administrators or insurance companies hide the negligence. This is why when an unexpected or catastrophic outcome results from a medical procedure, you need legal representation. Most patients or their families don’t know their rights or understand the process. I do, and it is my job to protect you.