In the 2018 midterm elections, many voters said that healthcare was their top priority when choosing a candidate. However, neither political party has put forth a plan that would reduce the number of deaths attributable to medical error. According to some reports, death by medical error is the third most likely cause in the United States, and there were probably 500 preventable deaths on election day by itself.
In 2016, a study found that an estimated 250,000 patients die per year because of mistakes made by medical professionals. Mistakes are often made when prescribing or administering medication to patients, and diagnostic errors are also relatively common. Errors related to diagnosing patients has resulted in 4 million serious injuries per year. However, there are ways that medical professionals can improve patient outcomes. For example, using a checklist can reduce errors during a surgical procedure.
Tracking errors as they happen may make it easier to do something about them before a patient experiences harm. Increased communication may also reduce the chances that a patient is the victim of a medication error. Doctors and others who take small actions such as washing their hands while around patients can also cut down on the chance that a patient will become sick or otherwise harmed in a hospital.
A failure to diagnose a patient’s illness may be considered an act of medical malpractice. It might also be an act of malpractice for a doctor to fail to run a test or to take steps to ensure that a patient received the right medication. An attorney may review a case to determine if a medical professional did not act in a manner consistent with his or her skill or experience level. If negligence did occur, a patient may be entitled to compensation.