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Studies Show How Frighteningly Common Hospital Errors Can Be

“The number of patients who die each year from preventable hospital errors is equal to four full jumbo jets crashing each week. If airline tragedies of that magnitude were occurring with such frequency, no one would tolerate the loss.”

That terrifying statistic, courtesy of a recent AARP bulletin, is indicative of just how devastating – and prevalent – Illinois medical malpractice claims may be.

As any Chicago personal injury attorney can attest, doctors and nurses owe a duty of care to their patients. Part of that duty includes providing the best care, and ensuring that their actions don’t unreasonably put their patients at risk. If negligence in performing procedures causes harm to a patient, the healthcare professional may be liable for damages stemming from that injury, and an Illinois personal injury lawsuit may arise.

Additionally, the hospitals for which the responsible doctor or nurse works may also be legally liable; in general, healthcare institutions have the responsibility to supervise their staff to ensure that mistakes aren’t made, and to hire professionals who have enough knowledge to competently treat patients.

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published a report stating that, each year, as many as 100,000 Americans die in hospitals from preventable medical mistakes. But that number is on the rise, and in fact, may just be the tip of the iceberg. According to a report by the Health and Human Services Department released this past January regarding Medicare patients, hospital staff did not report 86 percent of harms done to patients in the prior year. If injuries aren’t even reported, the real number is significantly higher.

Recent studies conducted by the Health and Human Services Department indicate that one in seven patients either suffered serious or long-term injuries or died as a result of hospital care, and of those serious injuries, approximately 44 percent were preventable. An unrelated study in the journal Health Affairs concluded that as many as one in three hospital admissions included some type of harm to the patient.

Hospital errors – especially those that could have been avoided – that cause serious harm to patients, are unacceptable.

Medical malpractice injuries are devastating and potentially life altering. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys have handled a number of these types of cases, and even won a record high $14 million verdict against a doctor and hospital for not following and ignoring abnormal chest X-ray results, which caused a substantial delay in the diagnosis of lung cancer.

If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of negligence on the part of a healthcare provider, contact an attorney immediately to better understand your rights under the law. Although a personal injury lawsuit cannot undo a past harm, it is a substantial step in achieving justice for victims of medical malpractice.