On November 9, 2010, Thomas Haskell, then 63 years old, underwent cardiac bypass surgery at Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Ellsworth, Maine. Due to complications, Mr. Haskell died four days later.
It is always difficult when you or a loved one is hurt by medical malpractice. Unfortunately, in addition to losing your health, your remedies are limited by legislation that was passed in 2003.
A new study just released in the Surgery journal reveals that prevalence of "never events" in hospitals is much higher than previously thought. The analysis was done in hospitals looking at national malpractice claims, and examiners observed that over 80,000 "never events" occurred between 1990 and 2010.
Generally, patients seeking to sue a hospital or healthcare provider have two years to bring forth a claim of medical malpractice. This is known as the statute of limitations. The two year statute begins running on the date the malpractice occurred.
According to Bloomberg, payouts on medical malpractice cases for VA claims is at an all-time high. Christopher Ellison went to a veterans medical center in Philadelphia to get eight teeth extracted in 2007. What should have been a routine dentist visit left him permanently incapacitated. The $17.5 million Ellison and his family received in a malpractice judgment against the Department of Veterans Affairs was the largest against the agency in a dozen years -- and one of more than 400 payments the U.S. government made last year to resolve VA malpractice claims, according to agency records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The total cost came to $91.7 million, also the highest sum in at least 12 years.
Based on the National Observational Study of Prescription Dispensing Accuracy and Safety in a 50 pharmacy test, an estimated 6.5% of all medical prescriptions are filled incorrectly to a point to be of clinical importance. The same study shows that there are roughly 4 mistakenly filled prescriptions per every 250 prescriptions filled daily. Nationally, that is an estimated 51.5 million errors occurring during the filling of 3 billion prescriptions each year.
In a new study released by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), researchers believe that traditional malpractice reforms enacted by states, such as caps on damages that we have in Texas, do not actually change how physicians practice. In the August edition, it was noted that Medicare patients receive more diagnostic tests and emergency department referrals when treated by physicians who worry more about medical malpractice liability, regardless of whether the state in which they practice has adopted so-called medical malpractice tort reform.
Contrary to popular intuition, surgical errors are not the basis for the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits, but in fact the leading causes of malpractice lawsuits are diagnostic issues. There are several diagnostic issues such as misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose. Diagnosis is key to knowing which treatment or procedure a patient needs, and so when there is a failure to accurately diagnose a patient, death commonly results. There are generally three types of problems with diagnosis and each can result in severe injury and/or death. Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor diagnoses the patient with the wrong disease. For example, a patient arrives in a hospital with gastric distress and is diagnosed with a stomach illness rather than a heart attack. Delayed diagnosis is when a doctor gets the right diagnosis, but due to some error or other event is not able to "catch" the disease in time. Finally, there is missed diagnosis. In cases of missed diagnosis, a patient is examined by a doctor and the doctor finds no serious problem. As a result, the patient leaves thinking there is nothing wrong but later finds that there was a latent illness that the doctor missed.
The New York Times recently wrote on a blog report identifying what kind of medical error accounts for most malpractice payments. As it turns out, it is not surgical mistakes, medication errors or labor and delivery mishaps.