Medical malpractice can be difficult to track. For one thing, not all cases even get reported. Some patients may be victimized by malpractice without even realizing it. They may just think that they got unlucky or even blame themselves when the doctor was actually responsible.
That being said, studies do indicate that malpractice is much more common than a lot of people realize. In fact, some studies claim that it is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. And that is only looking at cases that resulted in fatalities. Many more individuals suffer from medical malpractice and have survivable injuries – although those injuries and/or disabilities may still change the course of their entire lives.
How could it rank so highly?
People are often very surprised by this ranking, which means that medical malpractice would be below only heart disease and cancer. Since these are such well-known causes of death in the United States, it’s hard to fathom how medical malpractice could be similar.
Part of the issue is that malpractice refers to so many different conditions and issues. If the doctor accidentally mixes two medications, that could be malpractice. If a surgeon accidentally severs an artery, that could be malpractice. If the doctor just makes an incorrect diagnosis, leading to a delay that causes a condition to become terminal, that could also be an example of malpractice.
What options do you have?
Because it can happen in so many different ways, it’s very important for patients to understand all of the legal options they have if they find themselves in this position. No two cases look exactly the same, but you may have options to seek compensation.