Medical Error Crisis
The unfortunate truth about medical errors is that they plague the poor and uninsured, reflecting the great medical inequality in our country. For those who do not consider medical errors to be a problem, consider this: medical errors kill between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans every year. This reflects the fact that medical errors kill more people per year than breast cancer, AIDS, or motor vehicle accidents. Doctors complain of inflated medical malpractice insurace costs, but medication-related errors for hospitalized patients cost around $2 billion annually.
The 41 million uninsured Americans exhibit consistently worse clinical outcomes than insured patients with the same maladies and are at increased risk for dying prematurely. Only 55% of patients in a recent random sample of adults received recommended care in treatments and preventative treatments, and the lag between the discovery of a new medicine and its adoption by doctors is 17 years. You could suffer from an ailment and not receive the proper treatment simply because your doctor is not well educated about treatments that were invented almost two decades ago!
The problem is not restricted to administering too little medication. Every year millions of people are unnecessarily hospitalized. Using excessive, unnecessary antibiotics to kill infections outright is a widespread practice that, while curing individual patients, cause strains of a disease to mutate and grow stronger, resulting in more serious infections for the entire population. In 1993, excessive antibiotics were prescribed in 20 million cases, and by now that number has multiplied.
Adverse drug reactions, procedural errors, and nosocomial infections are all aspects of medical error. Surveys have found that medical error is the norm in many instances. Medical error actually occurs in the majority of patients suffering from diabetes, hypertension, tobacco addiction, hyperlipidemia, congestive heart failure, asthma, depression, and atrial fibrillation. If you have any reason to believe that your doctors have administered an inappropriate treatment, prescribed unnecessary hospitalization, or otherwise jeopardized your wellbeing, consult a lawyer right away.