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Researchers report medical errors a leading cause of death

People in Georgia might be at a greater risk of a medical error than they realize. Increasingly, studies are showing that medical errors happen at a high rate. This first came to light in a report from the Institute of Medicine 18 years ago that estimated preventable medical errors killed more than 100,000 people per year. Further research has only reinforced this statistic and suggested that the situation might even be worse.

In 2016, an analysis estimated that preventable deaths from medical errors might top 250,000. John Hopkins did an analysis for an organization, The Leapfrog Group, and found that avoidable errors cost employers $8,000 for every inpatient admission. The November 2018 issue of the journal "Health Affairs" revisited the issue and found that more than a third of nurses rated their own organizations unfavorably when it came to patient safety. In addition to ongoing issues with medication errors, diagnostic mistakes may have serious consequences for around 4 million patients per year and affect 12 million or more per year. In another survey of seriously ill patients and families, a serious medical error was reported for 25 percent of patients.

Medical professionals and researchers are seeking solutions to reduce errors, but there are a number of obstacles. A lack of transparency is a major one. Professionals and organizations simply do not want to admit to making mistakes.

People who suffer as a result of medical errors may face a number of obstacles, including the responsible parties' lack of willingness to admit to a mistake. Victims might want to consult an attorney. Compensation for medical malpractice may help cover additional care and other expenses. In some cases, medical professionals may offer adequate compensation out of court, but other cases may need to go to trial. The court would look at whether the patient's treatment constituted a reasonable standard of care and the harm caused by the error.

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