Recent Study Analyzes Public's Perception on Medical Malpractice

It goes without saying that doctors, nurses, and other hospital professionals play an important role in our society. When we are sick or in a life threatening situation, we put all our trust in doctors and nurses to help make us better. But even with their important role and life saving skill set, these hospital professionals makes mistakes that can cause a great deal of harm to patients.

Generally speaking, medical mistakes are not intentional. Typically they are are result of a failure to practice medicine with a reasonable standard of care. When that happens patients should understand that they should be fairly compensated for any resulting damages. But how will you know if you have been injured due to substandard care?

Public's Medical Malpractice Perceptions

A recent study published by Harvard helps us understand what the overall perception about medical malpractice is. While this study was done in Massachusetts, it is applicable to Panama City medical malpractice cases as well.

One of the biggest takeaways from Harvard's study is the public's experience with medical malpractice in general. Of those polled on the question of whether they were involved in a medical error or mistake, an overwhelming number of 75% said either they or someone close to them was involved in medical error. And of that 75%, 13% claimed that the medical error caused serious health consequences.

Study participants were also asked about the types of medical mistakes they experienced; 51% of those studied said that they were misdiagnosed. A surprising 38% reported that they were the victims of a wrong test, surgery, or procedure. At the same time, patients said:

  • they were not given clear instructions regarding their care (34%);
  • they were given incorrect medication or doses (32%); or
  • they suffered an infection due to a test, procedure, or surgery (32%).

When you think about it, these are truly stunning numbers.

Do People Report Medical Malpractice or Medical Errors?

An interesting part of the study was on whether people report medical malpractice and who they reported mistakes to. Remember that 75% of those studied reported being involved in a medical error, but only 54% of those people reported it to anybody at all. Most of those who did report the error did so to prevent it from happening to someone else, and this is important. When you or someone you love is the victim of medical malpractice, seeking compensation for the resulting injuries helps compensate you for your pain and suffering, but just as important, it helps doctors and nurses change how they treat patients in the future.

In fact, one of the primary purposes of medical malpractice law is to improve the quality of care that doctors and nurses provide. If attorneys were not allowed enforce a standard of reasonable care, patients would suffer as a result. But too many people do not know what to do if they are injured in a hospital. According to this study, 36% said they did not how to report it or what to do about a medical mistake. That should not happen to you or anyone close to you.

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