ProPublica, a non-profit news organization focusing on stories in the public interest, has published the results of a patient harm questionnaire. The questionnaire includes stories from 1,000 people from all 50 states, revealing details of harm they suffered as a result of medical negligence in the U.S.
The questionnaire revealed patterns in the experiences of patients who had been injured in a medical setting. For example, many patients who had been injured by medical malpractice described a lack of transparency, consequences or apology on the part of medical professionals in the wake of a medical injury. According to the questionnaire, more than half of medical malpractice cases are a result of elective care, as opposed to urgent or emergency care.
Another 2013 ProPublica article reports that between 210,000 and 440,000 people suffer harm in a medical setting that ultimately contributes to their death. If these numbers are correct, the article points out that medical error would then constitute the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. Of the people who do not die from medical malpractice, many are left with a lingering injuries, compromised quality of life, and in some cases, permanent disability.
Medical malpractice can be difficult to prove, in part because of the lack of transparency on the part of medical professionals. That’s why it’s so important to seek the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer if you or someone you love has been harmed in the course of seeking medical care.