23 Facts About Medical Malpractice

Doctors and politicians like to blame attorneys for the high cost of malpractice insurance but the truth is that doctors make severe errors that hurt or kill thousands of patients each year. Here are the facts.

  1. 98,000 deaths each year are due to medical errors. – Institute of Health, National Academy of Sciences (1999)
  2. Deaths by medical errors each year exceeded the number of deaths due to motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer and AIDS. – Institute of Health, National Academy of Sciences (1999)
  3. More than 10% of common surgical procedures are unnecessary or inappropriate. – USA Today(7/24/02)
  4. In the year 2000, the Center for Disease Control found that there were 90,000 deaths due to hospital infections.- Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  5. In West Virginia, 40 doctors were found to account for 25% of all of the 2,300 cases of malpractice reported to the West Virginia Board of Medical Examiners since 1993. – West Virginia Gazette Mail
  6. Full and prompt disclosure of medical errors to the patient followed with fair compensation for the injury caused has reduced litigation costs in Veterans Hospitals. – United States Department of Veteran Affairs
  7. Medical errors kill more people each year than auto accidents. – Paul C. Weiler, A Measure of Malpractice: Medical Injury, Malpractice, Litigation and Patient Compensation (1993), Harvard University Press
  8. Medical errors produce more permanent disabilities than do workplace accidents. – Paul C. Weiler, A Measure of Malpractice: Medical Injury, Malpractice, Litigation and Patient Compensation (1993) – Harvard University Press
  9. In New Jersey if a physician has been sanctioned by the Board of Medical Examiners, consumers can find out nothing about the complaints or disciplinary action. – Asbury Park Press (1/31/02)
  10. Getting a formal hearing with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and its Board of Medical Examiners can take a member of the public up to 2 years. – Asbury Park Press (1/30/02)
  11. Doctors disciplined for gross negligence received on average 3 month suspensions. – Asbury Park Press (1/28/02)
  12. An Asbury Park Press Review of 483 disciplinary records since 1995 showed the Board of Medical Examiners issued reprimands to 3 doctors in 3 cases court. – Asbury Park Press (1/30/02)
  13. 20,000 physicians, or 5% are alcoholics, drug addicts, senile, criminals or are incompetent and should not be practicing medicine. New England Journal of Medicine (10/5/87)
  14. Only 1,974 doctors out of 623,000 doctors nationwide were disciplined as a result of their actions. This represents .32% or 3.2 doctors out of 1,000. – Public Citizen Health Research Group Report, September 1993
  15. States do not have the resources available to adequately investigate claims and discipline doctors. 53.6% of the doctors disciplined by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and 44.6% of the doctors disciplined by Medicare were not disciplined by the states in their disciplinary process. – Public Citizen Health Research Group Report, September 1993
  16. In the year 2000 nearly 3/4 of the deadly infections found in hospitals-or about 75,000-were preventable, the result of unsanitary facilities, germ-laden instruments, unwashed hands and other lapses. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  17. Deaths linked to hospital germs represent the fourth leading cause of death among Americans, behind heart disease, cancer, and strokes. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  18. Hospital infections kill more people each year than car accidents, fires and drowning combined. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  19. Strict adherence to clean-hands policies in hospitals cold prevent the deaths of up to 20,000 patients each year. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  20. Since 1995, more than 75 percent of all hospitals have been cited for significant cleanliness and sanitation violations. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  21. About 2.1 million patients each year, or 6% will contract a hospital-acquired infection. – Chicago Tribune (7/21/02)
  22. The deaths of 2,610 infants in the year 2000 were linked to preventable hospital-acquired infections. – Chicago Tribune (7/22/02)
  23. Diagnosis of breast cancer was delayed in 9% of patients in a recent study because physicians wrongly ascribed a benign status to a palpable mass. – Archives of Internal Medicine (6/24/02)

If you or a loved one has been harmed by medical malpractice, you may have a claim for damages. For more information, please go to the New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys page.

John R. Mininno, Esq.is a New Jersey and Pennsylvania trial lawyer representing clients in medical malpractice, defective products and other serious injury claims. He also writes about issues concerning patient safety. His offices are in Collingswood, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.

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