In the United States, health insurance is a $900 billion industry. Despite the fact Americans are spending a fortune on healthcare services, medical mistakes continue to be extremely common and medical malpractice litigation continues to be necessary to help victims of medical errors to recover monetary damages for substantial loss.
Many of these mistakes happen in hospitals, and some of the mistakes can be deadly. The Moderate Voice recently took a look at some possible reasons why medical mistakes still happen so frequently.
The Moderate Voice provided some recent and egregious examples of medical malpractice arising from medical mistakes. One example was a woman who lost her unborn twins because of a failure of the hospital staff to identify preeclampsia. The woman had a seizure as a result of this condition, which should have been detected, and she ended up being awarded $4.25 million when her 33.4 week old babies died.
This was just one of many examples of tragic losses and, in this case, the loss was described as "gross negligence" or as a "major error in judgment." These types of cases occur simply because providers fall short of living up to the standard of care expected of medical professionals. This type of gross negligence is one of many causes of medical malpractice and medical errors.
Unsanitary conditions are another top cause of medical malpractice described in The Moderate Voice. Unsanitary conditions are not a problem which often capture headlines, but unsanitary conditions can still make people very sick or can result in death. One example recently was a facility in which dialysis machines were being set too close to patients in a hospital dialysis facility. This sloppy error resulted in drops of blood form one patient being carried to other patients (including into open wounds) and drops of blood being carried to other parts of the hospital.
The rise in patients who are covered by insurance as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is, ironically, cited as another reason why medical errors and medical malpractice have continued to be a persistent problem and has even become a bigger problem in recent years.
Around 20 million Americans were able to gain access to healthcare as a result of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Many of these patients have not been to doctors in a long time, and many have pressing medical needs. The influx of these patients is putting additional pressure on a medical system which is already overburdened. When doctors have less time to spend with each patient, especially if those patients are sicker, it increases the potential for problems to arise which could result in adverse outcomes.
While all of these possible explanations help to explain why medical errors still happen, the bottom line is there is no excuse for care providers to fall short in ways which harm patients.