Residents in Chicago may be interested in a study conducted by the Journal of Patient Safety, which estimated that 440,000 people die per year as a result of medical errors. The toxicologist who ran the study asked whether hospitals were taking every step necessary to prevent doctor errors and whether they were learning from past mistakes.
Using the most recent data available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Consumer Reports measured mortality ratings to assess the likelihood of death within 30 days of being admitted to the hospital for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia. The ratings also took into account the number of surgery patients who died in medical facilities from serious but treatable complications. Over 2,500 hospitals were given safety ratings.
According to the data, some hospitals had a much higher mortality rate than others. Consumer Reports indicated that the study was published in an effort to bring attention to hospital safety and in hopes that doctors would work harder to prevent medical malpractice. Potential patients were advised to research hospitals with the help of friends and family for a facility with high safety ratings.
The study outlined above may indicate that many preventable errors occur at the expense of patients' lives. When an unexpected death occurs due to possible negligence or medical malpractice, a family may be able hold the possible medical professionals involved accountable in order to receive financial compensation for lost wages, hospital expenses, funeral costs and loss of companionship. A medical malpractice attorney may have the skills to advocate on behalf of family members in court. An attorney could examine a lawsuit in order to determine whether mistreatment or compounded injuries were results of avoidable errors.
Source: WRAL, "Study estimates 440,000 die from medical errors", May 06, 2014