Know Your Rights If You Are a Victim Of Medical Malpractice

A recent exchange of op-ed pieces on caught our attentionKnow your patients rights in the event of medical malpractice this week.  The topic was patient rights and whether patients should have the right to protect themselves in the event of medical error and medical malpractice.

Most people assume that diseases are the top 20 causes of death in America.  Sadly – there is another big contributor.

In the JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA: Vol 284, No 4), an article written by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, showed that medical errors and medical malpractice may be the third leading cause of death in the United States.

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Medical Malpractice Events That Should NEVER Happen.

Since early in this century, the U.S. Government hasThere are medical malpractice events that should never happen

been tracking the incidence of what they call “Never Events”.  “Never Events” are shocking medical errors – medical malpractice – that should never occur – and that often have catastrophic consequences for the patient involved.

The term “Never Event” was first introduced by Ken Kizer MD in 2001.  Since that time the list has been greatly expanded to include six categories of medical malpractice events:  surgical, product or device, patient protection, care management, environmental, and criminal.

So just what are some of the things considered “Never Events”?   

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10 Shocking Errors That Lead To Medical Malpractice

10 shocking errors that cause medical malpractice

CNN Health recently ran a story* on shocking medical errors and their findings were just that, shocking.

10 Shocking Errors That Lead To Medical Malpractice:

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Doctors Being Paid By Pharmaceutical Companies Can Lead To Medical Malpractice

Drug company records show that a number of Connecticut Doctors being paid by pharmaceutical companies can lead to medical malpracticephysicians are both top prescribers of certain drugs and receiving extra benefits – speaking fees, consulting fees and gifts from the same companies who make those drugs.

This from the West Hartford News (7/31/12):  “West Hartford (physician) was the state’s topprescriber of Invega, an antipsychotic medication marketed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. She also was in the top five prescribers of Zyprexa, an antipsychotic marketed by Eli Lilly, in 2008 and 2009.

Drug company reports show Janssen paid this West Hartford doctor $11,900 in speaking fees and travel expenses in 2010. Eli Lilly paid her $26,000 as a speaker in 2009, and morethan $47,000 for speaking and travel in 2010.

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Medical Malpractice Prevention for Senior Citizens

Because our elderly are the greatest consumers of medical care – theyTips to avoid medical malpractice for senior citizens are also the most susceptible to medical errors and medical malpractice.  One in seven Medicare beneficiaries are harmed during their care, according to a recent U.S. Senate hearing on the subject.  According to the same testimony, one in four senior citizens will also be discharged from a hospital to a nursing home, only to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days – and half of those readmissions are avoidable.

During this same hearing – the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety cited a 2010 federal report that indicated preventable mistakes likely caused the deaths of as many as 950 Medicare beneficiaries in Connecticut hospitals. The same report estimated that 22,000 likely got an infection while they were being treated.

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Learn 2 Steps To Protect Yourself Against Medical Malpractice

Sadly – really bizarre things can happen in the hospital.  Among theLearn two steps to protect yourself from medical malpractice most shocking and inexplicable (and these actually happened) – amputation of the wrong limb, open heart surgery on the wrong patient, brain surgery on the wrong part of the brain, surgical instruments left in the body cavity after surgery, and allowing the patient to become fully conscious during surgery are just a few examples of terrible medical errors and malpractice.

Well – the latest report on Connecticut hospitals by the state’s Department of Public Health shows that surgical mistakes in 2011 — the most recent year for which data was available — jumped by 62 percent while the incidence of hospital injuries or even deaths related to surgeries also climbed.

If you or a loved are facing a surgical procedure – you need to know what to do to protect yourself.

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