SOUTHFIELD, Michigan. According to a study performed by researchers at Johns Hopkins, medical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the U.S. According to NPR, the way that deaths are tracked using death certificates may worsen the problem. When doctors write death certificates, they are not permitted to list medical errors as a cause of death. According to the researchers, this creates a situation where doctors may not report their errors. Johns Hopkins researchers claim that as many as 250,000 Americans may die in a given year due to medical errors. These numbers don’t begin to account for the number of people who are injured as a result of medical malpractice. If you believe you or a loved one suffered as a result of a medical error, misdiagnosis, or problem with a prescription, you have rights under the law. The medical malpractice personal injury attorney at the Law Office of J.L. Hawkins, P.L.L.C. may be able to help you.
The Centers for Disease Control uses a coding system in death certificate data. This system doesn’t record medical errors resulting from poor communication between doctors, errors in diagnosis, and failures of judgment. In fact, one doctor writing to the New York Times reported on at least four instances where he had to intervene on behalf of his loved ones who were in danger of death or injury due to mistakes and oversight in their medical care. In one instance, his daughter wasn’t receiving the intravenous fluids he believed she needed. When he went to speak to a nurse about his concerns, she didn’t respond quickly and instead, he found the nurse on her computer minutes later, looking up cosmetics. In another instance, the doctor advised the nurse to transfer his son to the intensive care unit. His son stopped breathing during the night.
Not everyone has a family member who is a doctor to oversee their care. And many patients may simply be unaware that medical malpractice or errors contributed to their loved one’s death. Death certificates only list the underlying condition that led to the death, not the preventable actions of doctors that may have hastened the process. Furthermore, doctors are often reluctant to admit when they’ve made a mistake.
Some medical malpractice issues are easier to identify than others. For instance, a misdiagnosis can delay critical care. A prescription error can lead to an overdose that families can recognize. Surgical errors could result in longer recovery times or longer procedures. If you or a loved one has suffered due to medical malpractice or due to a doctor’s error, you may be entitled to receive money to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitative costs, and pain and suffering. The Law Office of J.L. Hawkins, P.L.L.C. in Southfield MI offers compassionate and caring counsel to victims and their families. Visit our website at www.jlhawkinslaw.com to learn more about how to protect your rights and hold medical professionals accountable for their errors.