Each year, 250,000 patients die from medical errors - more than motor and air crashes, suicides, falls, poisonings, and drownings combined - according to John Hopkins published research. Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, yet a study shows most doctors would not tell patients or accept responsibility for their mistakes.
A jury found Dr. Thomas Myers, a neonatologist, was negligent and has caused ongoing health problems for Tinley Parker, now five years old. They awarded more than $23 million to the family. According to the family's attorney, Tinley suffered massive blood loss at birth and was not fully transfused for approximately three hours after her birth. As a result, Tinley suffered brain damage and now has ongoing health problems, including cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Carmen Alexander, a 43-year-old school teacher, died Feb. 21, 2012, just two days after being admitted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Her death was connected to a serious bacterial infection known as necrotizing fasciitis (NF), which can spread quickly through the body, destroying its soft tissue.
In January 2015, the family of Michael Powall filed suit against the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Hillcrest Hospital, Dr. Jack Lissauer, and Dr. David Weinerman. The family has alleged that the doctors caused the death of Mr. Powall, then 78-years-old, during a medical procedure.
According to a lawsuit Carter filed Thursday in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Dr. Larry Glazerman mistakenly sliced through her small bowel when removing her cyst. Then he sewed her up without noticing the error.
A Dallas County jury delivered a $19.7 million verdict against Dr. Jennifer Burris and her employer, Acute Surgical Care Specialists, for the wrongful death of Ms. Katina Clark. Prior to her death, Ms. Clark lived in a permanent vegetative state for a year and a half following the brain damage she sustained as a patient.
A study found that families may be a source for improving hospital safety and avoiding mistakes, as parents often catch errors that doctors miss. The study involved two pediatric units at a hospital in Boston. Analysis of safety incidents found that approximately one in ten parents found mistakes that physicians did not.
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is considered one of the top hospitals in the nation. Researchers discovered about half of the surgeries performed at this institution have administered medications by error or with unintended side effects. These findings are even more likely to be found at other U.S. hospitals. In 2013-2014 researchers at MGH observed and discovered that 124 of the 227 procedures included at least one medication error or drug-related incident that harmed the patient. According to this study, the most frequent errors were due to mislabeling, incorrect dosages, and medications unnecessarily administered.
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.
While texting and driving is almost universally agreed to be one of the most dangerous habits of this current generation, dangerous texting has begun to branch out into other areas of people's lives. Interviews have shown that the medical field has had an increasing rate of errors in the operating room related to the use of personal technology, such as checking social media. Celebrity Joan Rivers, who died of cardiac arrest after her oxygen was cut off, appeared in photos with her surgeon during surgery while under anesthesia. Another incident in Dallas was reported where an anesthesiologist was emailing and texting instead of watching the patient's vital screens. This lack of attention led to the death of the patient whose dropping oxygen levels went unnoticed for 20 minutes. From checking text messages to online shopping, cellphone distractions in the medical field are rising. The handheld computer is being cemented into daily routines at a growing rate, and business policies are struggling to catch up.