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Chicago medical malpractice attorneysWhile the current rate of medical malpractice in the United States places every patient at risk, some have a higher risk than others. Among them are non-English and limited English speaking patients and families (about 20 percent of the U.S. population, or about 57 million people). Just what is this risk, and what does it mean for limited or non-English speaking citizens? More importantly, what rights do people in these communities have if they do experience a serious error? The following explains further.

Understanding the Risks

Numerous studies have been conducted on the potential harm that patients face when doctors make critical mistakes and diagnostic errors. Among them are studies that have examined the potential effects of language barriers, which have found that non-English speaking and limited English speaking patients have an overall higher risk of experiencing:

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Chicago medical malpractice lawyersSepsis is a serious, fast-moving, and potentially fatal infection that causes more deaths in America than heart attacks. Even more concerning is a recent analysis done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in which it was found that nearly two-thirds of the 258,000 annual fatalities were missed by doctors and nurses. In some cases, the oversight could be considered a negligent medical error. If you or someone you love has experienced a missed or delayed sepsis diagnosis that resulted in death or injury, know your rights, including your right to pursue compensation.

Sepsis: A Potentially Fatal Medical Emergency

Almost any patient can suffer from a case of sepsis. In fact, one man nearly died from sepsis that occurred after a paper cut. His case was caught quickly, thanks to the hospital’s nationally recognized sepsis prevention and detection plan. He did end up in a medically induced coma for three weeks to give his body time to heal, but the man ultimately made a full recovery.

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medical malpractice, Chicago personal injury lawyersSince the mid-seventies, tort reformers have put a lot of effort into getting the public to believe that the justice system is broken and that physicians and hospitals are innocent victims who must settle with patients to resolve unfounded claims to avoid ruin. But when you look at the facts, including those recently presented by the Center for Justice & Democracy, it is clear they are anything but. If anything, the evidence indicates that it is patients who are being treated unfairly by the courts.

The Human Impact of Medical Mistakes

Preventable medical errors are now considered to be the third leading cause of death in America, just after heart disease and cancer. Even more patients are seriously injured to the point that their lives are substantially and often irrevocably altered. The problem is so pervasive, in fact, that most Americans will experience a diagnostic error at least once in their life (which is twice as likely to result in death than other medical mistakes), and around half of all surgeries involve an adverse drug event or other medication error.

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diagnostic errors, Chicago medical malpractice attorneyProper treatment for a medical condition hinges on a correct diagnosis, but the wrong diagnosis can be a death sentence. Valuable treatment time is wasted. Conditions may worsen. And, in some cases, the wrong treatment can be dangerous. Unfortunately, the misdiagnosis of medical conditions happens all too often—a lot more frequently than most people realize.

Diagnostic Error Statistics

According to the study from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), diagnostic errors (inaccurate or delayed diagnoses) touch five percent of all Americans seeking outpatient care each year. Postmortem examinations reveal that those errors contribute to approximately 10 percent of all patient deaths, and a review of patient medical records suggests that such errors could be responsible for up to 17 percent of all adverse events in hospitals. However, what is most concerning about all of this is that, for the most part, diagnostic errors have not gone largely discussed and are highly underresearched.

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