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June 2013 Archives

The costs of medication errors

Medication errors cost about $20 billion annually.  This is just one of the findings reached by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics in their report, Avoidable Costs in the U.S. Healthcare:  The $200 Billion Opportunity from Using Medicines More Responsibly.  These medication errors are found every step along the way of administering drugs, from writing of the prescription to monitoring the effect of the medication.  The IMS found sloppy handwriting led to patients getting the wrong drug or the wrong dose.  Doctors also fail to check to see if their patient is getting better, thus they fail to discover that their patient is receiving the right medicine.  The full report can be viewed at

Misdiagnosis is the most common medical error

In Chicago, Illinois, as well as in the rest of America, the most common form of possible medical malpractice is misdiagnosis. Experts say that missed, delayed, or incorrect diagnoses account for between 10 to 20 percent of all preventable medical errors. According to a 2009 report from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 28 percent of misdiagnoses result in disabling injuries or death. Another study conducted in conjunction with the Texas Veterans Affairs System found that 87 percent of misdiagnoses had the potential to inflict considerable harm. There are three ways in which misdiagnoses occur:

Stroke costs expected to double

 The costs of treating strokes are projected to more than double in the next 20 years.  The highest increase in the incidence of strokes are expected to occur in Americans between the ages of 45-64, and among Hispanics.  These are the statement highlights from the new report released by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association on May 22, 2013.  Since 90% of people who survive a stroke are left with some form of a disability, lost productivity is also expected to increase significantly.

Diagnostic errors a frequent cause of medical malpractice

According to one study, more than a third of medical malpractice cases are related to a missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. This is significant in that diagnostic errors also account for some of the highest medical malpractice verdicts and settlements. Payments on average for these sorts of cases appear to be around $83,000 higher than other sorts of verdicts involving medical malpractice cases.

Do you need a lawyer before signing nursing home documents?

You wouldn't think you need a lawyer just to get admitted to a nursing home or long-term specialized hospital.  But many times these institutions add a waiver of your legal rights to sue to the stack of documents they hand you in the admissions office.  You may given a large stack of what appears to be ordinary admission papers:  Consent for Admission and Treatment, Patient's Rights and Responsibilities, Anatomical Gift by Living Donor, Advance Directives, Notice of Privacy Rights, Designation of Individuals Authorized to Receive Patient Health Information, An Important Message from Medicare, Valuables Statement, Alternative Dispute Resolution.  Oops, what's that?  It might be called an Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement or an Arbitration Agreement.  By and large they're lengthy, difficult to understand, small print, and the average person isn't to read and understand what they are signing.  What they are signing, however, is a waiver of all legal rights to sue in a court of law for any claims of medical malpractice that any doctor or nurse may commit upon the patient during their stay.

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AMERICAN ASSOCIATION for JUSTICE | Formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) | MEMBER -2013

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FAQ Medical Malpractice

Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Malpractice

Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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