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Errors in medical records

New York residents should know that a world-leading health IT expert states that an estimated 70 percent of health records have erroneous information. The wrong information contained in health records can result in medical care that is harmful or even fatal for patients.

According to a study conducted by John Hopkins, over 250,000 people in the United States are killed annually because of medical errors. This statistic makes medical errors the third-leading reason for death after cardiovascular disease and cancer. The results from other research show that the annual number of deaths attributed to medical errors may exceed 400,000.

Individuals who want to get the errors in their health records corrected may find that the process for doing so can be complicated. This is due to physicians being fearful of lawsuits if they admit that they made an error and to the entrenched belief that patients cannot be trusted.

One frequently occurring error in health records is mistaken identity. The United States is unlike other developed countries, such as several Nordic countries and the United Kingdom, in that it has no special patient identifier number that is associated with a single centralized record. As a result, physicians can find it challenging to verify that they have the right records for patients who have common names. One health IT expert recommends that medical personnel take pictures of their patients and attach them to their health records so that they can verify whether they are speaking to the correct person.

An attorney who practices medical malpractice law may pursue financial damages on behalf of clients who sustain harm from negligent medical care. Lawsuits may be filed against medical personnel and facilities for prescription medication errors, misdiagnosis, delayed medical treatment, unnecessary procedures and other medical mistakes that resulted in a worsened medical condition or death.

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