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Americans are more frightened of dying at the hands of their doctor than they are of a plane crash. MalpracticResources.com makes this shocking statement based upon a recent report of a survey of Americans. These people must have heard that medical errors cause more deaths in the United States every year than car accidents, AIDS, or breast cancer.

Americans are more frightened of dying at the hands of their doctor than they are of a plane crash. MalpracticResources.com makes this shocking statement based upon a recent report of a survey of Americans.

The overwhelming majority of those who participated in the survey said that information about malpractice suits and medical errors would be the single most deciding factor in trusting a healthcare provider. These people must have heard that medical errors cause more deaths in the United States every year than car accidents, AIDS, or breast cancer.

In fact, for the airline industry to parallel medical errors in mortality rates a 280-person jet would have to crash every day of the year. This would account for the over 100,000 people who die annually due to complications in medical care, not to mention the nearly 2 million who are maimed and disabled. This malady is called iatrogenic disease, a disease that is a direct result of medical care. What is causing this epidemic? Many agree that the cause is over-treatment. More medicine is administered than necessary, people are hospitalized unnecessarily, and doctors prescribe drugs instead of healthy lifestyle choices. This is a major problem and it shows no signs of stopping.

They go on to say.

…can you blame people for filing [medical malpractice] claims? Doctors must be held accountable for their prescriptions, and if a doctor writes you a prescription that hurts you they deserve to be taken to court! This is truly an epidemic, and it must be stopped by holding irresponsible healthcare providers responsible. One in five Americans has experienced medical errors directly or has a family member who has suffered a medical error.

These facts and thoughts deserve our attention and justify our fears. There can be no real debate over the fact that medical malpractice is occurring more and more frequently. Based on my personal experiences in representing the victims of medical malpractice, these are some circumstances that are particularly scary to me:

  1. Being taken to a hospital over a holiday weekend.
  2. Having a shift change occur during a relatively long surgical procedure.
  3. Experiencing a complication in the recovery room after a surgical procedure during a time when my surgeon is involved in another surgery.
  4. Never receiving a written report of an important test or consultation.
  5. Being bounced from doctor to doctor in a clinic setting (with the exception of any Mayo Clinic facility).
  6. Being prescribed any combination drug (fixed ratio of two drugs).
  7. Awaiting the callback from the ER after a radiologist reads an x-ray the next morning.
  8. Receiving hospital nursing care from a nurse who is from a different floor and nursing specialty.

This is merely a short list intended to demonstrate some of the patterns that I have observed in the evaluation of medical injuries. The patterns are recurring circumstances that seem to generate patient injuries. Being generally scared or concerned about possible medical malpractice may be step one in avoiding injury. But, recognizing a bad set of circumstances is surely step two.

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