In 2012, former astronaut Neil Armstrong died in an alleged case of medical malpractice. The 82-year-old had undergone cardiac bypass surgery in August and, according to leaked documents, experienced a tear when a nurse removed the wires from his temporary pacemaker, causing him to suffer internal bleeding. The staff at Mercy Health — Fairfield Hospital in Cincinnati attempted to treat him in a catheterization lab, but he died from complications later in the month.
Armstrong’s family sued the hospital, which settled the claim for $6 million. The terms of the settlement were confidential, but its size suggested that there may have been strong evidence of malpractice.
The case was high-profile due to the fact that the alleged victim was an American icon, but it was otherwise not unique. In 2016, Johns Hopkins released a study suggesting that medical error kills over 250,000 people in the U.S. every year. Other studies put the number even higher, at close to 440,000.
Either statistic is highly alarming. We trust healthcare providers like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists with two of the most important things we have: our health and the health of our loved ones. When that trust is broken, the consequences are devastating.
According to Psychology Today, the four most common acts of medical malpractice encountered in hospitals are:
- Misdiagnosis: When your healthcare provider misdiagnoses your health condition, delayed treatment results. By the time the mistake is discovered, it may be too late.
- Unnecessary treatment: This includes surgery for the wrong condition or a condition you may not even have.
- Unnecessary tests and procedures: The Psychology Today article cited studies showing that every year, $700 billion is spent on unnecessary tests and treatments, some of which may be high-risk.
- Medication errors. An estimated 60% of patients don’t receive their regular medication while they are in the hospital. In some instances, they get the wrong medication instead. The Institute of Medicine estimated in 2006 that 1.5 million people in the US are harmed by medication errors every year.
Other common injuries include birth injuries (to the mother and/or baby), surgical errors, and anesthesia errors. A brief mistake can kill someone you love or impair you physically, mentally, and emotionally for life.
When you see your family physician or enter a medical facility for treatment, you expect to have our symptoms evaluated accurately and efficiently. When that doesn’t happen, illness, injury, and even death can result. If this happens to you, then a New York personal injury attorney with medical experience will help you determine liability and hold the right parties accountable, so you receive the financial settlement or award you need to recover. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, NY lawyer who handles medical malpractice and accident cases. If you were injured at the hands of a medical professional, then contact his office at 718-514-6619 to set up a free in-person consultation.