Medical Malpractice Today in 2020
Alexander Pope penned the familiar phrase “To err is human, to forgive divine” in his “An Essay on Criticism” in 1711. While humans are still prone to making errors (some things never change), certain actions resulting in errors face more dire consequences than others. Medical professionals must undergo years of rigorous training and education to ensure best practices for patient safety. And yet, you may be shocked to learn that medical negligence remains among the leading causes of death in the United States. Top researchers at facilities such as Johns Hopkins University say preventable medical errors account for the deaths of as many as 250,000 Americans every year. And this number may be on the rise in 2020, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and an ill-prepared medical response to it.
What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Allegations?
Inaccurate medical diagnoses continue to account for the most medical malpractice allegations from patients every year. It should be noted that not all medical misdiagnoses are considered grounds for medical malpractice. A misdiagnosis must be followed by a patient’s worsening medical condition due to no treatment, delayed treatment, or improper care to qualify as medical negligence. Errors during surgery or while prescribing medication or anesthesia are also far more common than you may realize. Finally, there continues to be a rise in medical malpractice involving obstetrics and birth injuries. Medical malpractice suits filed against OB-GYN providers account for nearly 20% of total annual cases.
The Number of Medical Malpractice Claims Remains Absurdly Low
Although medical malpractice accounts for nearly 250,000 deaths every year, continuing studies show only about 2% of those suffering file medical malpractice claims. Why is this number so absurdly low? In most states, you must file a medical malpractice claim within six months to two years of receiving the negligent treatment or diagnosis. Many people miss the statute of limitations because they’re worried that they don’t have enough evidence of wrongdoing. Some are afraid of the consequences, such as increased healthcare costs or the future refusal of medical treatment. These are all myths designed to prevent victims from receiving the compensation they’re legally entitled to for their pain and suffering.
Were You Misdiagnosed Due to Medical Error? You May Have a Case
One medical malpractice trend that we wish wasn’t the case was the underwhelming response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Initially, there was not enough public awareness about the virus and how it would affect our population’s most vulnerable groups. Because the illness symptoms mimicked many others, including the common cold and the flu, many people may have been misdiagnosed, especially in the early stages. Medical workers on the front lines were also severely understaffed and overworked as the virus spread quickly, which may have also contributed to medical errors being made in the diagnosis and treatment of the coronavirus. Failure to provide proper treatment may have cost lives. Unfortunately, many states granted immunity to healthcare providers during the COVID crisis. Consult with a medical malpractice attorney to determine what your rights are should you believe you or a loved one were harmed due to a misdiagnosis during these difficult times.
Focused on Raising Medical Malpractice Awareness for 50 Years
Practicing for nearly 50 years, Pegalis Law Group, LLC is a New York-based law firm with an emphasis on personal injury and medical malpractice. We’re also committed to raising public awareness about the importance of being proactive patients to improve healthcare standards for all. Please visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to receive additional insights about how you can continue to be proactive about your family’s healthcare, especially in a post-pandemic world.