Recent studies confirm that almost 1/4 of Americans have been negatively impacted by medical errors. While this appears alarming on its face, the scary part, is that the actual number of Americans who have been victimized by medical negligence could be much higher due to unreported medical errors or situations in which medical errors have occurred and are the subject of a coverup by the doctor or hospital.
The recent survey which was conducted by the NORC at the University of Chicago, found that almost 25% of Americans reported having personally experienced a medical error and was careful to note that, when medical errors do occur, they “have a lasting impact on the patient’s physical health, emotional health, financial well-being, or family errors.
In addition to the 25% of Americans that the study uncovered as having personally experienced the results of medical malpractice, 31%, almost 1/3 of Americans, reported that someone who they knew well and whose medical care they were personally involved with experienced the ill-effects of medical malpractice.
While the survey was not a lengthy one (there were only 2,500 adult patients surveyed) there were a number of interesting things that the survey uncovered, such as:
- more than half of the people in the study who experienced what they considered a medical error did not bring it to the attention of the doctors administering the care or the hospital;
- most people in the survey had the opinion that patients and their families had a role to play in the care and treatment; and
- there were many different factors that the patients who identified medical errors that played a role in the medical errors occurring.
Here in Georgia, a lot of the medical errors that occur happen when:
- The patient is under general anesthesia and is not able to help themselves in any meaningful way;
- The patient has had a very specific procedure performed that does not allow the patient to “second guess” the doctor or dentist that performs the procedure.
- The effects of the medical error are gradual over time and do not become apparent until far into the future, through no fault of the patient.
It does seem a bit misguided to allot some form of responsibility to patients who have receive medical care that includes medical errors. In fact, it seems as if this type of sentiment is blaming the victim for the malpractice. This simply is wrong and should not be how this situation should be viewed.
Many of the dental malpractice cases that I handle involve injuries to the nerves in the jaw and face. There is no way that a dental patient who receives this type of dental injury is in a position to know what, specifically, the dentist has done inside the mouth when they are performing one of the common dental procedures that result in serious dental injuries, such as a root canal, molar extraction or dental implant placement. To place any blame on these patients is unfair and, in my opinion, cruel.
For more than 20 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence of others in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area, including Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about your potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.