Researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently studied the most common causes of death, and their analysis shows that medical errors in hospitals and other healthcare facilities are extremely common and may now be the third leading cause of death in the United States. With heart disease and cancer claiming the one and two spots, 251,000 people die every year as a result of medical errors, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke, and Alzheimer’s, according to the study.
This equates to nearly 700 deaths a day—about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States. According to the article, Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, said in an interview that the category includes everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues, such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.
Although these statistics are staggering, they represent only a percentage of people affected by medical errors. Thousands of people who don’t die from an error still suffer harm. The degree of harm can vary from mild to permanently debilitating. Whether injury or death is the outcome of an error, the victim or the loved ones left behind might want to consider consulting with a medical-malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice is the legal cause of action when a doctor or other healthcare professional does not act reasonably and the result is a preventable injury.
Medical malpractice cases are often complex and require expert opinions to prove the claim. Attorneys who specialize in medical-malpractice cases can analyze your claim to see if the physician violated adequate standards of care. In Indiana, a doctor or other healthcare provider must act as a reasonably careful, skillful, and prudent healthcare provider would under the same or similar circumstances.
Medical malpractice in Indiana may consist of 1) doing what the healthcare provider should not have done under the circumstances or 2) not doing what the healthcare provider should have done under the circumstances. In addition, the medical error must have caused identifiable injury to you or your loved one—the patient. This means the negligence must be a cause of injuries. In addition, due to the nature of laws pertaining to medical-malpractice claims in the state of Indiana and the length of time it may take to pursue a claim, many attorneys may only handle claims that involve permanent or serious injuries.
If you or your loved one is a victim of medical errors, it may seem obvious that the health provider’s error warrants compensation to the victim. However, the reality is that medical-malpractice cases are some of the most complex cases to resolve. At the end of the day, the more you know and understand about the full scope of your possible case, the better.
The attorneys of Langer and Langer serve clients throughout the entire state of Indiana. Feel free to contact our offices if you have further questions about medical malpractice and its laws in Indiana.