A major former study, analyzing medical malpractice throughout the U.S. revealed the following alarming statistics:
- Nearly 160,000 deaths per year are caused by diagnostic errors. (a more recent study, by Johns Hopkins Hospital, has estimated that 250,000 deaths occur each year, the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease and cancer)
- One in three hospital patients experience preventable hospital errors in their treatment.
- Prescription errors (in excess of 1 Million per year) cause about 7,000 patient deaths per year.
- Approximately 80,000 patients die annually due to hospital negligence.
Common types of medical malpractice include the following:
- Delayed or incorrect diagnosis and/or treatment, causing the disease to progress and cause more damage.
- Medication errors (contraindicated medication and/or dosage)
- Surgical errors: including unnecessary trauma to otherwise healthy tissue, instruments and other surgical materials left in a patient, anesthesia mishaps
- Preventable infections
- Preventable birth injury, causing damage to the infant or mother.
Medical Professionals who could be to blame (not an exhaustive list):
- Physician Assistants
- Nurse Practitioners
- Physical Therapists
- Lab Technicians
- Home Health Care Professionals
- Nursing Home Employees
- Rehabilitation Facility Employees
These are complicated cases, and not ones you can handle on your own, or ones that just any attorney should handle. These cases require a lot of time, expertise, expert witnesses and trial experience. The malpractice insurance companies that insure the medical professionals hire only very experienced attorneys to defend the medical professional against whom you are filing a claim and many of the claims need to proceed to a trial.
You should be aware that the law requires your claim be filed within a certain amount of time, which is called a Statute of Limitations. Failure to file a claim within that time period may prevent you from pursuing a claim. In most instances the statute of limitations in New Jersey is two years; however, there are exceptions, one example is if the hospital or medical professional involved is part of the State, or Federal Government (and this fact isn’t always clear), proper notices must be filed long before the two year statute, or you claim may be barred.
If you think you, or a loved one, may be the victim of malpractice, call my office for a case review.
All the Best!
Randy C. Redden