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Don’t worry about health care system when considering malpractice

When a person is admitted to the hospital, she or he may often think that everything will be alright, and that the best care will be provided. This may be true in most cases, but from time to time, ahospital mistake may occur. Such a mistake may involve doctors, nurses, orderlies and any other members of the staff. Regardless of whoever is involved, an error can cause varying amounts of damage to a patient, from none to catastrophic: This largely depends on the type of mistake involved and how quickly it is addressed.

Errors and injuries can happen throughout a patient’s stay at a hospital. When a patient is being transferred from bed to gurney or vice versa, she or he may be dropped by the orderlies. A nurse may provide the wrong medication to a patient while she or he is trying to recover from the ailment that brought her or him to the hospital in the first place. If this causes an allergic reaction, it could mean some severe – and unnecessary – injuries. The same is true if a surgeon performs the incorrect procedure on a patient or the right procedure in the wrong location.

Even when a patient becomes injured and the hospital is responsible, some refuse to file a claim. This could be due to the belief that medical malpractice suits cost the health care system a considerable amount of money. According to a recent study performed by Johns Hopkins University, this belief is incorrect. Researchers examined malpractice verdicts and settlements over a six-year period in the National Practitioner Data Bank, focusing mostly on settlements that saw patients awarded with more than $1 million. Out of the 77,621 verdicts and settlements over the six years they examined, researchers said that less than 8 percent of them were more than $1 million. Of the $27 billion paid out over the course of the study’s focal period, these cases accounted for 36.2 percent, averaging about $1.4 billion per year in costs to the health care industry. But this is less than one percent of the cost of annual medical expenses in the U.S.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to a mistake by a medical professional, speak to an experienced Illinois attorney about your case. You may be entitled to financial compensation for a variety of claims, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

Source: Healthcare Global, “High malpractice verdicts not responsible for healthcare costs, study finds” No author given, Aug. 03, 2013


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