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Californians beware: Medical errors third leading cause of death in U.S.

Medical errors are abundant in California and across the nation. Medical errors may result in preventable injuries and death.

California residents put their trust in the state’s highly skilled and experienced health care professionals when they are in need of medical attention. However, alarming studies show cause for concern when it comes to America’s medical industry. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 250,000 people nationwide are killed as a result of medical errors each year, making them the third most common cause of death in the U.S. From failure to diagnose a patient to operating on the wrong body part, there are many different ways that medical professionals put patients at risk every day.

Misdiagnosing patients

Although physicians go through an extensive amount of medical training before they are allowed to diagnose patients, medical doctors collectively fail to provide accurate diagnoses on a regular basis. The National Center for Policy Analysis released an article showing that 10 to 20 percent of all medical cases in the U.S. are misdiagnosed. This number is thought to be much higher, however, as many misdiagnosis cases go unreported.

Not only can a misdiagnosis cause a patient to take unnecessary or even harmful medication, but it can lead to surgical operations that the patient does not require. While the wrong condition is being treated, the actual condition may become exacerbated, resulting in permanent injury and even death in some cases. Excessive medical expenses for unnecessary treatments, surgeries and medication can cause financial devastation for many victims of medical misdiagnosis.

Medical errors

According to a CNN News report, there are many forms of medical malpractice. These include:

Leaving equipment inside a patient during a surgical operation.
Operating on or treating the wrong patient.
Doctors who are treating patients under a fake or suspended license.
Operating on the wrong body part.
Spread of infection from improper aseptic technique.
Administering the wrong medication or the wrong dose of medication to a patient.
In one unfortunate case, a small baby lost both legs, her left hand and all of the fingers on her right hand after she was made to wait for five hours in the ER before receiving medical attention. The attending nurse had quickly determined that the baby was affected by a mild virus, rather than the actual flesh eating bacteria that she was suffering from.

California takes action

According to Southern California Public Radio news, the Department of Health Care Services withheld Medi-Cal reimbursements to at least 85 hospitals that reported medical errors. As the state continues to review cases of medical errors, more penalties could be issued. Under federal health law, all hospitals are required to report their errors to the Department of Health Care Services; however, it is thought that many still go unreported.

Partner with an attorney

If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, misdiagnosis or any other type of medical error, you may want to consider partnering with a personal injury attorney who understands the legal system. You may be entitled to compensation for any injuries, pain and emotional suffering you have endured as a result of a doctor’s negligence.

Keywords: malpractice, medical error, negligence