Medical Malpractice Statistics
Medical malpractice is a serious problem, falling behind only heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death in the United States.
It is difficult to accurately estimate how often medical malpractice occurs because it often goes unnoticed or unreported. According to an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association, as many as 225,000 people die each year from medical malpractice. These incidents may be split into several subcategories:
- 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgery
- 7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals
- 20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals
- 80,000 deaths from infections
- 106,000 deaths from non-error, adverse effects of medication
Surprisingly, for the most part these victims’ loved ones do not usually file lawsuits or receive compensation.
The number of medical malpractice suits filed each year in the United States tends to vary, but the overall trend is that they are on the rise. The average annual number of suits filed each year is about 85,000, with the actual number of medical injuries estimated to be about one million per year. This means that there are eight times more injured people who never file claims compared to those who do, and only about half end up receiving any type of compensation.
Obstetricians and Gynecologists are physicians who have a particularly high number of malpractice suits filed against them.
Trends for Malpractice Suits in Pennsylvania
Despite the national trend, the number medical malpractice suits filed in Pennsylvania continues to decline. In 2000, for example, there were 2,632 suits, but that number dropped to 1,533 in 2009. Medical malpractice insurance rates for hospitals have also dropped in the state, perhaps as a result of the decrease in claims. However, this is no reason for patients who have been victims of malpractice to hesitate in filing a suit and protecting their rights.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to physician or hospital error, call the Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys of Galfand Berger today at 877 228-1528.