We all have different reasons for seeking medical care. Maybe you need a simple annual physical, or maybe you were involved in a serious car accident and need surgery. No matter how serious your need for medical attention is, you expect that your doctor will know how best to treat you and adhere to accepted standards while doing so. Sadly, the results of a recent study show that patients may have cause for concern when under the care of their doctors.
After analyzing thousands of articles that were published in the last 37 years, researchers came to the alarming conclusion that 43 million patients around the world are harmed by medical negligence each year. While you might expect that most of these errors occur in poorer countries that don’t have the same technology we do in the U.S., the researchers found that 17 million of the annual errors occur in high-income countries.
For wealthy countries like the U.S., medication problems were the most common type of error. In 5 percent of hospital stays, patients in high-income countries were harmed in some way by their medications. In middle- and low-income countries, blood clots are a serious problem.
In total, researchers estimated that negligence by doctors and hospitals led to a loss of 22.6 million years of life globally either because the patient died from an error or became disabled. Wealthy countries were responsible for 7.2 million of those lost years.
Between the money, technology and education doctors in the U.S. are exposed to, it is mind-boggling that the rate of medical errors is still so high in our country. Hopefully hospitals in California and the rest of the country will work harder to find solutions to this harmful problem.
Source: CBS8.com, “Medical harm occurs in nearly 43 million hospital cases each year,” Sept. 19, 2013