An article in the March edition of the Journal of Patient Safety discussed medical error related deaths in the US, citing the leading causes to be highly preventable occurences including pressure ulcers (bedsores), hospital-acquired infections, blood clots (embolism), surgical errors, and misdiagnosis.
One of the article’s contributors, Dr. Kevin T. Kavanagh, commented,
“Our utmost concern is that – despite having the knowledge to prevent adverse events – many health systems do not adequately invest in patient safety to put well-known safety improvement strategies in place.”
Many in the healthcare industry refute the findings, criticizing the measures with which data was analyazed and the fact that these outcomes are included without consideration of the patient’s state of well-being at the time adverse events occur. Dr. Kavanagh believes these criticims are unfounded.
“As a whole, concerns with data are unfounded since the data tend to underestimate, not overestimate, the number of preventable deaths. In addition, the context of the patient is irrelevant and must be dissociated from medical error.”
While both sides do agree that better data are needed, only patient-safety advocates are working to collect it. “The onus should not be on consumers but on the healthcare industry to generate comprehensive data to demonstrate that their product is safe.” A comparison drawn within the Journal article pits the healthcare industry against the transportation industry, calling on healthcare oversight not unlike the National Transportation Safety Board which provides consumer protections by investigating all aircraft accidents. At 200,000 deaths per year, Dr. Kavanagh asks, “In what other industry would such a record be tolerated, let alone defended? Would the airline industry and public ever tolerate even a single preventable airline crash? We can and must do better.”
The article notes solutions to help reduce the risk of fatal adverse events, including investment in adequate nursing levels and implementing a “culture of safety.”
If you or a loved one have suffered the consequences of surgical errors, missed diagnosis, or other medical malpractice, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Messa & Associates for a free case evaluation. Our experienced and skilled attorneys are armed with the necessary resources and knowledge to successfully argue your case.
Call 1-877-MessaLaw or submit an inquiry online. Let Messa & Associates earn you the compensation you deserve.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More