Ten Shocking Medical Malpractice Statistics
One hotly debated statistic is that medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. While some debate the veracity of that figure (based on what constitutes medical malpractice and what constitutes an adverse medical event) others have argued that the figure may actually be larger than advertised. According to a study published by Rosenbaum & Associates, more than 250,000 Americans die each year from preventable medical injuries, inadequate care, misdiagnosis, or unsanitary hospital conditions. What’s also true is that the majority of these deaths come from underfunded, economically poorer communities.
What do the statistics say?
Surgical Error the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.
Surgical errors involve some error that occurred during or after surgery that caused an adverse reaction. Not every surgical error rises to the standard of medical malpractice. Surgeons are human and sometimes, they make mistakes. However, allowing a mistake to go uncorrected, leaving a surgical instrument in a patient, operating on the wrong organ, or failing to meet the standard of care expected by the industry does qualify as medical malpractice.
The Average Payout for a Medical Malpractice Settlement is $309,908
Statistically, the number of medical malpractice lawsuits that have been filed against doctors has been greatly reduced over the past decade. However, the size of the settlement or jury verdict has increased over the same period of time. In other words, fewer lawsuits are being filed, but they result in larger payouts.
$38.5 Billion Has Been Paid Out in Med Mal Claims
Since 2009, about $38.5 billion has reportedly been paid out to victims of medical malpractice. The largest settlements are not those that result in the death of the patient, but those that result in a patient being severely maimed. This is because the patient may require round-the-clock care for the remainder of their life, have suffered an extensive reduction in the quality of their life, and will never be able to work again.
In cases where the patient dies, the size of the settlement is directly related to their earned income and whether or not they have dependents and a spouse. The dependents would be entitled to recover damages for the loss of financial support, so when you see very large wrongful death verdicts, it is typically because the family is recovering the financial support their loved one would have provided over the course of their life.
The Largest Medical Malpractice Verdicts Involve Birth Injuries
The largest medical malpractice verdict in history was awarded to the family of a child born with severe brain damage after the doctor failed to deliver the baby by C-section after telling the mother that there was a serious risk to the baby if delivered that way. The opposite was true. There was a greater risk to the baby delivering it naturally. The jury awarded the mother a record $229 million for the lifelong care and loss of quality of life that the baby will have to endure.
Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or your baby has been injured by negligent medical care, the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Masterson, Hoag & Smith can recover damages on your behalf. Schedule a free consultation today!