Vermont senator Bernie Sanders recently shed light on a growing cause for concern. Preventable medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in our nation, right behind cancer and heart disease. Fifteen years ago a report was released by the Institute of Medicine estimating that nearly 100,000 annual deaths in the US can be attributed to preventable medical errors. However, new research implies that those numbers may have been grossly underestimated. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, nearly 450,000 Americans reportedly die each year as a result of preventable medical mistakes.
Although it is true that a system designed to treat over 300 million people will never be flawless, it is alarming that our country’s healthcare spending is of the highest globally yet we rank about “average” in the quality of our care.
Dr. Peter Provonost of Johns Hopkins University commented on the issue, “we do not know how many people die needlessly, but we should.” He went on to suggest, “We need to declare right now that preventable harm is unacceptable and work to prevent all types of harm.” Dr. Ashish Jha of Harvard University’s School of Public Health suggested, “with smarter metrics, greater transparency, more accountability, and the right set of incentives, we can make big progress.”
The burdensome financial cost of preventable medical errors is palpable. However, the trail of devastation in their wake is much more disconcerting. Some medical mistakes lead to permanent, severe injuries that leave people without the ability to work, often causing them to lose their homes and health insurance. For an average American family, these outcomes are Earth-shattering.
Is it for this purpose that Weiss & Paarz has spent over 30 years fighting for patients that have been permanently harmed by preventable medical errors. It is imperative that victims of medical malpractice have someone to help them confront their new reality, keeping up with their increased healthcare costs while ensuring their families are taken care of and their homes remain their homes.