I’ve been doing this long enough that articles like this one from Consumer Reports don’t surprise me anymore.
The number of deaths from preventable medical errors is astonishing. That’s why we do what we do. Quite frankly, we all want better medical care in this country. One small way to go about it is by holding physicians responsible for their medical malpractice. Hopefully the number of people killed will start to drop.
(Howard Zimmerle is a medical malpractice attorney in Iowa and Illinois. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com).
Holy crap… that’s about all I can say about that. This article is amazing. You would think that wrong site/wrong person surgery could be prevented (and it can), but it still happens. A lot.
All sorts of problems still happen with regularity. Surgery based on test results given to the wrong person. Flipped x-rays (really? even in the digital age where all x-rays are on a computer?). Marking the wrong side of the body or the wrong vertebra.
Several years ago, the National Quality Forum coined the term “never events” to describe medical errors that are almost entirely preventable. These include:
- wrong site/wrong patient surgeries,
- medication errors,
- wrong procedures,
- retained objects after surgery (clamps, sponges, etc),
- pressure ulcers or bedsores,
- injury due to incompatible blood or blood products,
- death or serious injury due to hypoglycemia
The bottom line is that medical errors – even dumb ones – keep happening at a higher rate than they should. Even the staunch tort-reformers would have difficulty arguing that someone who is injured or the family of someone who dies from wrong site surgery or another one of these “never events” doesn’t deserve fair and full compensation. That’s where we come in.
(Howard Zimmerle is a medical malpractice and nursing home negligence lawyer practicing in Illinois and Iowa. He can be reached at hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com or 309-794-1660).
I spend a lot of time on this blog and elsewhere lamenting failures in medicine. Of course I do. My job is to hold the medical field accountable and fight for the safety of patients. I want the system to work, and I love it when it does.
Here’s an example of the medical system working.
Kevin Neff (a family member of mine) lost his voice years ago. He saw doctor after doctor, including the Mayo Clinic, and no one could help. Finally, he saw a doctor in Cleveland, and within an hour, without surgery, he had his voice back.
Here’s a full article on this.
It’s a neat story, and is uplifting even if it is off-topic.
(Howard Zimmerle is a lawyer in the Quad Cities, with offices in Rock Island and Davenport. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com)