Everyone knows that medical malpractice exists and that doctors and hospitals have done very little to make patient safety a priority. A few weeks ago, a study from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that 1 in 18 emergency department patients are misdiagnosed. These errors led to nearly 400,000 serious injuries from diagnostic error. Now, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that adverse events (preventable injuries) were identified in nearly one out of every four admissions to the hospital. In other words, medical malpractice is on the rise.
The study looked at a random sample of 2,809 admissions to 11 different hospitals. From that data, researchers found at least one “adverse event” in 23.6% of the admissions. Of thse, nearly 23% were preventable! From those incidents, they then ranked the severity of the adverse events.
Previous studies have shown that medical malpractice is responsible for over 400,000 deaths per year. This makes medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the country. So why are hospitals and doctors not taking the issue more seriously? The answer is most likely “money.” While hospitals claim “non-profit” status, they are money-making machines. For example, in 2017 Banner Health’s CEO made over $25 million. He does not make that enormous salary by limiting the company’s profit. Patient safety should always be the hospital’s number one priority. Until that happens, medical malpractice in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff will continue to devastate families in our community.