Medical malpractice can take many different forms. For instance, a surgeon who is operating carelessly could fatally injure a patient. An anesthesiologist who isn’t monitoring a patient’s vital signs could allow them to suffer serious complications through negligence, rather than direct action. Even a doctor who simply makes a mistake and delays a diagnosis could be charged with malpractice if that delay caused harm to the patient and was negligent in nature.
That being said, most people have a fair amount of trust in their doctor, and they believe that they are getting excellent care every time they go in for an appointment. But studies have shown that medical malpractice may actually happen much more often than people realize. Much of it flies under the radar.
The third-leading cause of death is malpractice
For example, one study claimed that malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Doctors were either making mistakes and causing patients to die or making negligent omissions that allowed that to happen when the doctor should have prevented it.
If these studies are true, it would indicate that malpractice causes death more than everything except heart disease and cancer in the United States. It is even more common than things like car accidents, despite the fact that roughly 40,000 people die every year in crashes. You may assume that you’re getting proper care from your doctor, but that doesn’t mean that you really are.
Does this change the way you look at the medical care that you’ve received? Many mistakes – even those that are not fatal – can still be very serious, and it’s important for patients to understand all of their legal options.