According to a recent study published in the BMJ, medical mistakes are the reason behind more than 250,000 preventable fatalities every year in the United States – roughly 10 percent of all adult deaths. Incredibly, more people are killed by medical mistakes than by accidents, strokes, or respiratory disease. Medical errors trail only heart disease and cancer as our nation’s top killers.
Dr. Harlan Wald, a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney at Kelley/Uustal, believes that the minimal laws requiring doctors and hospitals to report medical mishaps must be enhanced in order to better protect the rights of medical malpractice victims. Unfortunately, Florida law makes it very difficult to achieve justice for those who have suffered as a result of doctor errors, and many families are left with no recourse after the death of a loved one.
Currently, the CDC only reports the underlying medical condition as the cause for a fatality and does not take into account any diagnostic errors, communication breakdowns, instances of poor judgment, or other mistakes that may have led to patient death. In other words, the death of a cancer patient who failed to receive appropriate care would be considered a cancer death under the CDC’s mortality statistics, even though the condition itself was ultimately not responsible for the fatality. Experts agree that this is a major public health concern that requires decisive action.
Dr. Wald concludes that reporting of fatal medical errors to victims and families must be made mandatory, and Florida medical malpractice law should be revised so that a larger percentage of malpractice victims and their families can achieve justice.
View Dr. Wald’s commentary on this matter online via Sun Sentinel.
If you have suffered the untimely death of a loved one due to a medical error, contact Kelley/Uustal to schedule an appointment with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.