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New study says many elderly patients are medically injured

A recent study conducted by researchers from Towson University reveals that almost one in five patients on Medicare in Illinois and around the country experiences medically-related injuries with almost two-thirds being injured during outpatient care instead of hospitals. The potential medical malpractice incidents that were reported included issues such as suffering allergic reactions to medication or being given treatment that exacerbated patients' health conditions.

The lead researcher stated that there has been little effort put into understanding medical injuries that occur during outpatient care in comparison to hospitals. Places where patients might experience these injuries outside of hospitals include doctor's offices, clinics, nursing homes, and centers dedicated to outpatient services. The findings were taken from 12,500 Medicare patients and the death rate for patients who had suffered a medical injury was almost double that of people who had not, according to the lead researcher.

In addition to where people received treatment, age was also found to be a significant risk factor. The average age of patients included in the study was 76. Researchers found a 1 percent increase in medical injury risk per month of age. Existing chronic conditions were also a relevant factor. For each condition, there was a 27 percent increase of risk. Generally, the more serious a condition the greater the injury risk. Despite the specific discomforts and risks associated with individual medical injuries, these injuries lead to elevated health care costs for more than year after medical injuries occur, according to the lead researcher.

Victims of medical injuries may not know where to turn for assistance. A medical injury might constitute medical malpractice, which is something patients are often entitled to compensation for. An attorney could assist individuals in determining whether they have a claim and seeking fair compensation based on their experiences.

Source: WZDX, "1 in 5 elderly U.S. patients injured by medical care", Steven Reinberg, June 03, 2014

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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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