Medical Negligence Kills More Than Guns
Guns have taken center stage in our country’s political discourse following a series of tragic mass shootings across the United States this past year. The Center for Disease Control estimates that roughly 31,000 people die as a result of firearms use (homicide, suicide, accidental shooting) each year. A staggering number of lives lost, to be sure. Many people would likely be surprised, however, to learn that nearly 98,000 patients die every year in this country as a result of preventable medical errors. This not only makes death due to medical negligence three times more likely than death via firearms use, but also makes medical negligence the sixth greatest cause of death in the United States.
While such figures likely would (and should) shock the average citizen, they are not news to those of us who are familiar with the problem. Sadly, deaths due to medical negligence have remained a serious problem for many years, despite having been studied and discussed at length by medical experts. All agree that, if physicians, hospitals and other health care providers would institute best practices uniformly throughout the system, negligence-related deaths would come down. Unfortunately, as we’ve detailed in some previous blog entries, healthcare providers are not always meeting critical safety standards when it comes to the care of their patients. Too often, concerns about the “bottom line” are focused on more than concerns for the welfare of the people being treated. We especially see this in cases of nursing home abuse. Injury or death in the nursing home setting is almost always attributable to understaffing and/or poor training.
Until we, as a society and a nation, commit to improving healthcare standards, these fatality numbers will not come down. We need to police ourselves and our medical establishment, to insure that our injured, sick and elderly receive the high quality of care which our medical system is truly capable of. As long as we continue to fall short of that, however, medical negligence will remain a greater threat than firearms.
If you believe a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of medical negligence, please contact our office to discuss the matter. For more information see: