In the United States, thousands of patients each year are either injured or killed due to medical errors in hospitals. In a recent report, the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School reveals that an average of 25 patients contracts an infection during their hospital care.
Medical errors often occur as a result of unsafe patient care in intensive care units, emergency rooms, hospice care, and doctors’ clinics. Injured patients often do not report medical errors and do not sue for their injuries. But even when they do sue, they often fail to recover a damages payment from the negligent party.
Importantly, studies show that litigating for medical malpractice can help prevent future medical errors by improving care and observing strict patient safety standards.
Lack of Access to Civil Litigation and ‘Cap’ on Awards
Tort reforms in recent years have placed a cap or maximum amount that an injured patient may recover as damages, as well as attorney’s fees, in a medical malpractice suit. Considering the high costs of investigating a medical error, the costs of pursuing a lawsuit can outweigh the potential award of damages that a patient may recover. The cap effectively deters injured patients from filing legitimate claims in court.
In Texas, where legal limits have been placed on medical malpractice claims, preventable errors in hospitals have significantly increased as patient safety standards in hospitals have noticeably relaxed.
Common Injuries in Hospitals
Patients have suffered from:
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
- Retained surgical items such as sponges
- Hospital surgical fires where patients have been set on fire in operating rooms
- Diagnostic errors such as missed, wrong or delayed diagnoses
- Surgical site infections
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia, and
- Bloodstream infections from central lines
In the meantime, the New York Law School study observed that profits of medical insurance companies increased significantly in the past year due to lower pay-outs to victims of medical malpractice and the decreasing number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed.
Other disturbing data reveals that a high average of 103,000 health care practitioners such as doctors, nurses, and health care aides, abuse prohibited drugs.
If you or a loved one is injured due to a preventable medical error, you may be entitled to compensation.
In the greater Las Vegas area, the law firm of Bertoldo, Baker, Carter & Smith has years of medical malpractice experience, helping injured patients recover the maximum value of damages that they deserve.