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WHO report details widespread medical errors in all care settings

| Dec 5, 2019 | Medical Malpratice

Health care professionals in Georgia strive to provide quality care to patients, but they sometimes fall short. Whether people receive care from a primary doctor, outpatient clinic or a hospital, they could suffer a harmful medical error, according to a report from the World Health Organization.

The WHO examined medical mistakes globally and determined that 40% of patients experienced harmful events in a primary or outpatient medical venue. Researchers found that close to 80% of the errors might have been preventable. Diagnostic and medication errors accounted for the bulk of harmful events. In the United States, diagnostic errors impacted 5% of patients at outpatient facilities.

Within hospitals, WHO researchers estimated that about 10% of patients experienced medical harm. The number of adverse events that appeared preventable approached 50% of cases. Among these cases, 30% of the patients died as a result of medical mistakes. At U.S. hospitals, studies on autopsies revealed that misdiagnoses lead to the deaths of 10% of patients.

Overall, the WHO report concluded that unsafe care represented a leading cause of death globally. Within the United States, researchers estimate that medical mistakes result in the deaths of 210,000 to 440,000 people every year.

A person hurt by a misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes or medication errors might experience pain and suffering, lost income, missed treatment opportunities and extra medical expenses. A medical malpractice claim might recover these damages, but the legal standards for proving negligence are high in these cases. An attorney with access to independent medical experts might evaluate a victim’s case to determine if it could support a malpractice insurance claim. If it does, legal counsel might gather testimony from an independent physician and manage litigation necessary to try to recover a settlement.