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Study indicates that medical errors are a leading cause of death

A recent tally of statistics about medical injuries might surprise readers.

For starters, the number of injured patients is surprisingly high: As many as 400,000 patients are the victims of fatal medical errors each year. Put in another context, medical errors might constitute the third leading cause of death among Americans. To make matters worse, at least one source characterizes most of those injuries as preventable.

It may be true that sometimes accidents might happen during a medical procedure. For example, some readers might visualize surgical errors as particularly volatile, perhaps inducing bleeding that cannot be contained or leads to complications.

However, doctors may have a hard time explaining injuries that result from more foreseeable circumstances, such as medication interactions, anesthesia errors, or delayed diagnoses. For example, failing to take adequate safety precautions or patient intake may constitute negligence, in the eyes of a jury. An anesthesiologist is expected to review a patient’s medical history, including any pre-existing conditions, before clearing that patient for surgery.

When negligence is the cause of injury, doctors should be held accountable. Patients put their trust — and lives — in their medical professionals. They rightly expect that doctors will deliver a level of care that is consistent with industry standards. Any deviation from that duty of care could result in a finding of negligence, and a potential award in a medical malpractice suit.

Yet proving negligence in the medical context can be daunting. Technical terminology and complicated procedures may be difficult to analyze, perhaps requiring expert testimony. Fortunately, attorneys that specialize in medical malpractice lawsuits may have strategies for presenting such evidence in persuasive, easy-to-understand formats at trial.

Source:, “Six Frightening Facts You Need To Know About Healthcare,” Robert J. Szczerba, Oct. 22, 2013