As a society, we put considerable faith in professionals-deferring to their education and citing their professional titles as reliable. To that end, we trust that engineers will properly plan and construct buildings and roadways. We expect that our accountants are appropriately and accurately filing our yearly taxes, and of course, we rely on our physicians and medical experts to provide us with the medical care necessary to help us sustain healthy lives. But what happens when our expectations are not met-when our trust and reliance on these professionals fails us? What happens, for example, when a physician makes a costly mistake?
If you believe your injury or medical condition was either caused by or worsened due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, you may be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
When you are involved in a car wreck, the police investigate. If there is an injury, by law the officers must prepare and file a Crash Report. That Crash Report is part of the public record. Policymakers and citizens can use it to make decisions to improve safety on our streets.
It is clear that hospitals are dangerous places. Sixteen years ago, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences published a study, "To Err is Human," and concluded that at least 44,000 patients were killed (and many more injured) in hospitals each year because of medical errors. This was a shocking number then. But the numbers got worse.
The family of I'Nayah Wright Trussell has filed suit and alleged a medic refused to perform CPR when I'Nayah stopped breathing.
In 2013, Lourdes Rivera underwent a medical procedure. While under anesthesia, her dentures dislodged and became stuck in her esophagus. Ms. Rivera was injured and has filed suit against Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Jersey City.
Lost in the national political dialogue following last November's elections was a ballot referendum in California that sought to protect patients from poor medical care. The referendum, which sought to roll back the tide of "tort reform" demagoguery in state houses across the country, was buried under an avalanche of seven- and eight-figure campaign contributions from special interest groups and corporate backers intent on preserving their bottom lines at the expense of public health.
Patient Safety America's founder John T. James, PhD, published a study on deaths associated with needless complications in hospitals around the country, stressing the need for more health care regulation. In the study, he estimates over 400,000 American lives are lost, with the Office of Inspector General quoting separately in 2012 that 86% are not even reported.
The federal government utilizes a five-star rating program for nursing homes, a consumer tool that has been criticized for its reliance on self-reported, unverified data. Recently, the government announced it is implementing several changes to that program.