Hospital medical malpractice and patient harm epidemic was identified in a recent article in the Journal of Public Safety, titled “A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care.”

The Journal on Public Safety is a medical journal that publishes research in all areas of public safety. Among its editors include doctors and researchers from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, the Mayo Clinic, and Harvard Medical School.

Patient Safety epidemic injures thousands of patients per year

This article on the patient harm epidemic looked at medical malpractice errors historically and examined whether they were still prevalent in modern medicine. The article found that anywhere from 210,000 to 400,000 wrongful deaths per year occurred as a result of medical mistakes. It concluded that this “epidemic of patient harm in hospitals must be taken more seriously if it is to be curtailed.”

Lethal diagnostic errors alone (such as a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a disease) are estimated to cause anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 injuries per year. One example cited 100,000 heart failure patients that died prematurely each year in the late 1990s because they did not receive beta-blockers. But the article notes that there has been an increase in medical errors contributing to the patient harm epidemic since the 1990s.

The article also described the “wall of silence” that is a part of the patient harm epidemic in United States hospitals. This is what happens when medical providers make mistakes but fail to disclose these mistakes or brush them under the rug.

Medical errors occur for a wide range for reasons, including lack of experience, fatigue, poor communication, and even cost cutting. If you feel you are a part of this patient harm epidemic and need a critical eye to examine your medical records to determine whether there was a medical error, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately.