In July of 2014 we blogged about an announcement claiming preventable medical errors to be the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, this startling finding was just replicated by another more recent study through Johns Hopkins. Authors Martin Makary & Michael Daniel published an article in The BMJwith findings that preventable medical mistakes are (still) the 3rd most common cause of death in the United States.
The study’s authors claim that keeping track of these mistakes is so difficult because there is no spot to formally and legally record “medical mistake” as an official cause of death on autopsies and death certificates. For this reason, the researchers argue that better and more effective reporting is necessary after medical errors result in fatalities. Better reporting may lead to the development of better communication practices and medical care in facilities where preventable medical errors are frequently occurring.
Currently, on death certificates throughout the country, a code is attributed to a person’s cause of death that is taken from a handbook of disease classifications (ICD). Although the ICD allows for the accurate reporting of the technical reason for a person’s death (i.e., a heart attack), it fails to delineate whether the precipitating event was caused by a preventable medical error (i.e., a medical error took place that caused a heart attack leading to death).
Although we unfortunately cannot prevent medical errors from taking place, we can help the victims and/or their loved ones once they have occurred through achieving compensation to cover a future economic loss, medical expenses, and emotional distress. Weiss & Paarz has been helping victims of preventable medical errors for over 30 years. If you or a family member feels they have a medical malpractice claim, contact our office for a consultation. Please note that our firm does not charge any fees unless we recover compensation for you.