In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found in a widely accepted study that 98,000 people were dying every year form preventable errors in hospitals. Frighteningly, a more recent study published by the Journal of Patient Safety has shown the true number needless preventable hospital deaths has reached as many as 440,000 per year. (yes you read that correctly.)
Just as disturbing is the recent study of the Office of Inspector General that 86% of patient harm events were not reported by hospital staff as they either did not perceive the event as reportable or did not report an event that was commonly reported. These stunning revelations show that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death, only behind heart disease and cancer.
Robert Hicks, shareholder at Javerbaum Wurgaft, has seen an increase of needless hospital deaths involving a pulmonary embolism (PE). Mr. Hicks explains “ A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage of a major blood vessel caused by a thrombus, in other words a blood clot. If a large portion or all of the blood clot breaks off resulting in blockage of the major blood vessels leading to the lungs, it will most often result in sudden death.” The key to reducing this leading cause of preventable hospital death is to identify those patients at risk as there are highly effective therapies to treat this condition.
The number of preventable deaths have become staggering; the recent studies show that our hospitals are killing off the equivalent of multiple cities. These deaths are not stemming from the illness that caused the patient to seek treatment from the hospital, rather from needless mishaps that are quite often hidden from the patient’s family. Although it may be hard for hospitals to be error free due to their complex structure of caring for people who are very sick, it is time that society put a priority on safety and demand reform. If you have a loved one who was injured or killed during a hospital stay, call the lawyers at Javerbaum Wurgaft, we are here to help.