Is Medical Malpractice a Leading Cause of Death?

By Norman Younker on November 01, 2019


A gavel and a stethoscopeAny time a doctor or surgeon makes a mistake, it could mean the difference between life and death. That’s why the Salt Lake City, UT medical malpractice attorneys of Younker Hyde Macfarlane take all cases of health provider error seriously. In fact, mistakes by health professional are a leading cause of death in America.

Our legal team would like to consider a chilling study on fatal medical errors. We’ll compare those numbers to other figures on causes of death in this country, and consider some eye-opening implications in these findings.

The 2016 Johns Hopkins Study on Medical Errors

According to an alarming 2016 study from Johns Hopkins, more than 250,000 deaths per year are related to medical mistakes. This means that deaths from medical errors comprise roughly 10 percent of all deaths in America every year.

Taking the findings from the Johns Hopkins study into perspective, medical errors become the third leading cause of death annually in the United States

Comparison to Other Leading Causes of Death

The leading causes of death in America according to 2017 findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are as follows:

  • Heart Disease - 647,457 deaths
  • Cancer - 599,108 deaths
  • Accidents and Unintentional Injuries - 169,936 deaths
  • Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases - 160,201 deaths
  • Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases - 146,383 deaths

Breaking Down These Findings

The Johns Hopkins study from 2016 notes that medical errors are often under-reported and are currently not recorded in national health statistics. Dr. Martin Makary, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has advocated for improved data gathering when it comes to deaths from medical errors. In addition, there needs to be greater attention paid to the risks of medical mistakes and their consequences, with a focus on avoiding preventable deaths and ensuring accountability from those in the medical profession.

Numbers such as these give our Salt Lake City medical malpractice attorneys a greater sense of purpose. The issue of medical mistakes is more pervasive than the public may have realized, which is why doctors, surgeons, and health care facilities need to be held accountable for any errors made.

Could Medical Errors Play a Role in the Top Causes of Death?

You’ll note that medical conditions comprise four of the top five causes of death in America noted by the CDC. There are a number of things one can infer from these facts. The possible role of medical errors is among them.

If a doctor fails to diagnose the early signs of heart disease or cancer, for instance, this delay in diagnosis could mean greater difficulty in treating those conditions. Early diagnosis is essential for successful treatment and survival of so many medical issues. There’s a chance that some of the people who died of heart disease, cancer, and other medical problems could have survived if they underwent treatment sooner.

What These Facts Mean for Surviving Family Members

Those who have lost a loved one to a medical problem may have legal recourse. If your loved one’s health problem and eventual passing is linked to a delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or improper treatment, this could be the sign of negligence on the part of a health care professional. Our law firm is here to offer insight and legal assistance.

Speak with Skilled Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you live in the Salt Lake City area and would like more information about your legal options, contact our team of medical malpractice attorneys. The law firm of Younker Hyde Macfarlane can be reached by phone at (801) 335-7025.

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