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How common is medical malpractice?

In general it is important to understand what medical malpractice is and the protections victims injured or otherwise harmed by medical malpractice have available to them. You may also wonder how common medical malpractice is. Medical malpractice refers to the professional negligence of healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, hospitals and others. When a healthcare professional has provided substandard care, which has resulted in harm, victims may have legal remedies to consider.

Medical malpractice errors can come in a variety of forms including a failure to diagnose, incorrect diagnosis, medication error or other healthcare professional negligence. Unfortunately, medical malpractice contributes to harm including injuries and death. In the United States, up to 160,000 deaths can be attributed to diagnosis errors each year according to researchers. Diagnostic errors typically lead to the greatest harm. One study found that 195,000 victims die annually due to preventable in-hospital medical mistakes.

Another report revealed that one in three patients in the United States experiences a hospital error. Hospital errors can include misdiagnosis; giving the patient the wrong medication or wrong dose of medication; leaving objects in the body of a patient following surgery; operating on the wrong part of the body; as well as other medical errors. Medical malpractice can result in a variety of damages to victims and their families. Fortunately, victims of medical malpractice enjoy legal protections that can help them recover compensation for the harm they have suffered.

Medical malpractice can have a prominent impact on the lives of victims and families. As a result, the legal process provides resources to help families with the physical, financial and emotional harm associated with medical malpractice.

Source: Medical News Today, "What is medical malpractice?" Christian Nordqvist, Sept. 17, 2014

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