New research released in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Injury Prevention, and reported on by HealthDay News, an online news service headquartered in Norwalk, CT that provides daily health news updates to both consumers and medical professionals, reveals that nearly 1 out of every 5 Medicare patients falls victim to injuries caused by medical negligence. Such injuries include allergic reactions to medications, reactions to incorrectly administered medications, and worsened or heightened symptoms due to treatment.
Lead researcher, Mary Carter, director of the Gerontology Program at Towson University in Maryland, clarified that the injuries being discussed are not caused by underlying or preexisting conditions, but by the medical care and management itself.
The study also found that around two-thirds, or 62%, of the injuries occurred during outpatient care, when treatment is less specialized. Carter noted that while a great deal of effort has been expended to understand medical injuries in hospitals, much less has been done regarding injuries in clinics, doctor’s offices, outpatient surgery centers, emergency rooms, and nursing homes. “To really improve our ability to prevent these types of adverse events, we have to focus at least as much on outpatient care as we do on inpatient care,” Carter said.
Carter and colleagues collected data on approximately 12,500 Medicare recipients who made medical negligence claims between 1998 and 2005. The average age of the subjects was 76. Data concluded that 19 percent of the Medicare patients studied experienced at least one adverse medical event, which is higher than previous research estimates that found a rate of 13.5 percent. Carter believes that the rate of injury is actually even higher than the current estimate.
The study also found that those most likely to fall victim to an adverse medical event were older people, men, those from low-income backgrounds, patients suffering from chronic medical conditions, and patients who were in some way disabled. According to research, a shocking one percent increase in medical injury occurred as age increased monthly, and the death rate among patients who experienced an injury due to medical negligence was almost twice as high as patients who received proper care.
Not surprisingly, healthcare costs increased following the medical injuries due to greater use of medical services, presumably needed to correct the new issues caused by the adverse medical events.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, said “We have long known that medical care, while pledged to avoid harm above all, actually imposes quite a bit of it. Medical injury is all too common, and adverse effects of treatment are common, even in the absence of error.” Dr. Katz added that a process of consistent assessment and reform is necessary to reduce medical errors.
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The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling medical malpractice cases involving medical negligence. Our extremely skilled team of medical malpractice lawyers and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to medical negligence and.or deviations of standards of care, contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.