Medical errors resulted in more than 2,500 avoidable deaths in 2008

by Eric Pearson

Measurable medical errors cost the U.S. economy $19.5 billion in 2008 alone, according to a study commissioned by the Society of Actuaries and completed by consultants with Milliman, Inc. The study found approximately $80 billion in total annual costs associated with injuries, whether or not the result of errors. The study determined that around 25 percent of the costs were the result of injuries due to “avoidable medical errors.”

The report “highlights the need to reduce errors and improve quality and efficiency in American healthcare,” said Jim Toole, FSA, CERA, MAAA and managing director of MBA Actuaries, Inc. The study defined an “error” as “a preventable adverse outcome of medical care that is a result of improper medical management (a mistake of commission) rather than a progression of an illness due to lack of care (a mistake of omission).”

According to the report, there were 6.3 million measurable medical injuries in the U.S. in 2008; of the 6.3 million injuries, the report estimates that 1.5 million were associated with a medical error. The report concluded that measurable medical errors resulted in more than 2,500 avoidable deaths.

The study notes that approximately 55 percent of the total error costs were the result of five common errors:

  • Pressure ulcers
  • Postoperative infections
  • Mechanical complications of devices, implants, or grafts
  • Postlaminectomy syndrome
  • Hemorrhages complicating a procedure

Think you may have a medical malpractice claim?

The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have the experience and expertise to assist injured patients with their medical malpractice claims. Our attorneys have successfully represented numerous victims of medical malpractice. Among our attorneys’ recent verdicts, settlements and results are the following:

Jim Orr negotiated a $6.75 million settlement for the family of an 8 year-old child who suffered permanent brain damage due to medical errors occurring at a VA hospital.

Michael Heygood achieved a $2.2 million jury verdict in a medical malpractice lawsuit arising from the premature discharge of a newborn infant from the hospital with low glucose levels.

Eric Pearson argued the appeal in Columbia Medical Center of Las Colinas, Inc. v. Hogue, 271 S.W.3d 238 (Tex. 2009), in which the Texas Supreme Court upheld a gross negligence finding against the defendant hospital in a medical malpractice case and affirmed the jury’s $9 million verdict on behalf of his clients.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have the knowledge, experience and financial resources necessary to prosecute even the most complex medical negligence case. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice, please contact us or a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.

by Eric Pearson

Eric Pearson is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P who handles commercial and personal injury lawsuits. Eric has been selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication.