Hospital Error - Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer

When a patient goes into a hospital, they expect to getter better not worse. Although most patients do improve in a hospital, some leave worse or die because of avoidable hospital errors. According to a recent report, 80 to 90 percent of hospital mistakes are unreported even though Medicare laws require hospitals to report their mistakes. The most common hospital errors involve medication errors, surgical errors, communication errors, and hospital-acquired infections. When a hospital commits a preventable medical mistake that causes serious injury or death, hospitals can and should be held accountable. Chicago medical malpractice lawyer Jason M. Kroot has successfully handled a variety of hospital error cases, including those involving both inpatient and outpatient care.

In the landmark report issued in 1999 by the US Institute for Health, the authors determined that up 100,000 patients die every year in US hospitals from preventable medical errors. These errors were reportedly the eighth highest cause of death in the US, ahead of breast cancer and auto accidents. According to more recent reports, medical errors in the US may be even higher now than first thought. In a report issued in 2011by Health Affairs, one in three patients in the US encounter a medical mistake during their hospital stay. These new figures suggest the real number of preventable medical mistakes is probably exponentially higher than was previously reported. The Department of Health & Human Services recently estimated that one in seven Medicare patients suffer serious injury or death as a result of hospital care. The government found that 44% of these medical problems were, in fact, preventable.

Despite the large number of medical errors committed in US hospitals, less than 2% of these victims actually file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Of those who do file suit, an even smaller number actually recovers compensation. There are a variety of reasons for this. First, the vast majority of medical malpractice verdicts are for the hospital or doctor including in traditionally liberal jurisdictions like Cook County Illinois. Second, very few lawyers are truly skilled in the highly specialized field of medical malpractice making it more difficult for victims to recover. Third, newer medical malpractice laws have made it increasingly more difficult to successfully prosecute malpractice lawsuits except the most egregious cases.

Fed up with the number of hospital mistakes, the federal government recently enacted laws that require hospitals to report their medical mistakes in order to receive Medicare funding. If a medical error is found, Medicare will not pay the costs associated with these errors including the costs of further hospital treatment necessitated by the error. The ultimate purpose of the mandatory reporting of medical errors, however, is ultimately to motivate hospitals to analyze their mistakes and reduce them in the future. However, early reports indicate many hospitals seldom report their mistakes, including those that result in catastrophic injuries or death.

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