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Medical Malpractice Fact Sheet

Medical Malpractice Fact Sheet - Altizer Law PC

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional’s conduct or act fails to meet the standard of professional care and causes provable harm to his or her patient. This error or omission may occur through ignorance, negligence, or intentional wrongdoing. Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

The Numbers

  • The minimum annual number of deaths due to medical accidents, according to hospital records: 65,000 to 200,000.
  • The minimum number of these medical accidents that are due to negligence (or malpractice) every year: 25,000 to 120,000.
  • The percentage of hospital patients who are harmed by medical malpractice: 0.8% to 1%.
  • The percentage of those harmed by medical malpractice (as documented in medical records) who file claims: 2.9%.
  • The ratio of those killed or injured by malpractice recorded in medical records to the number of all incidences of malpractice: 4:1.
  • The percentage of physicians responsible for half of the medical malpractice claims filed in the U.S.: 4.8%. A mere 1.7% of physicians were responsible for 27.5% of all malpractice awards.
  • The percentage of patients who are harmed by medical malpractice who receive some payment through a negotiated settlement of a claim: 5%.
  • The percentage of patients who are harmed by malpractice whose cases go to trial: 0.333%.
  • The percentage of patients harmed by malpractice who win a trial verdict in their favor: 0.10%
  • The percentage of malpractice awards reduced by the court: 70%.
  • The percentage of economic harm their errors inflict on patients and their families that doctors and hospitals avoid paying: 80%.

NOTE: The Commonwealth of Virginia has established a cap on medical malpractice awards.

The Most Common Reasons for Medical Malpractice Claims

  1. Two studies released last month showed that of 1,800 closed claims against physicians between 2013 and 2017, 46% were related to the diagnosis. Those claims accounted for 68% of paid indemnity costs. In 45% of the misdiagnosis cases, the patient died.
  2. Surgical Errors. These include: improper preoperative care, failure to account for a preexisting condition, doctor did not follow established procedures, inadequate initialization of the surgical site, improper post-operative protocols, failure to provide adequate self-care instructions to the patient. These errors commonly result in blood clots, infections, acute respiratory failure, metabolic Note
  3. Anesthesia Errors. These often include: wrong dosage administered, delivery of anesthesia too late, failure to properly monitor the patient, prolonged sedation, failure to identify or respond to complications, failure to provide adequate pre-sedation instructions to patients prior to procedures, use of defective medication delivery equipment.
  4. Failure to Obtain Informed Consent. Failure to discuss diagnosis, treatment options and procedures and obtain informed consent from the patient prior to a medical procedure.
  5. Health care related infections affect nearly 2 million medical patients, resulting in 99,000 deaths. The most common type of infection is MRSA. The CDC reports that approximately one in 20 hospital patients will contract a health care related infection.
  6. Medication Errors. These errors include incorrect dosage, contraindicated medication combinations, administration of medications the patient is allergic to.
  7. Healthcare Worker Fatigue. When compelled to work excessively long shifts, as is necessary in many medical facilities, mistakes and accidents are inevitable.
  8. Childbirth Injuries. These injuries may result from malpractice or negligence during prenatal care or during childbirth.

If you or a loved one has been harmed due to the malpractice of a medical professional or facility, you may be entitled to take legal action to recover financial compensation for your hurts and harms. When you need a Virginia attorney with the experience, the tenacity, and a unique combination of compassion and toughness, call Altizer Law, P.C., in Roanoke, VA. Bettina Altizer and her expert team have been winning fair compensation for people injured by medical malpractice for more than 30 years. When the mistake of a medical professional turns your life upside down, we know that your claim is about the money.