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Chicago medical malpractice lawyersThere are many types of medical error that end badly, but often the most tragic are those involving a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose cancer. Many either lose their lives, or a portion of their body that never should have been removed. What is most concerning, however, is the frequency at which these accidents occur. If you or someone you love has been misdiagnosed with cancer, or has suffered because of a failure to diagnose, the following can help you understand your options.

An All-Too-Common Occurrence

Each year, approximately 1.3 million people are diagnosed with some form of cancer. Of those, around one in 71 cases are misdiagnosed. This was determined by a recent study from The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. What is even more concerning, however, is how many of these cases are misclassified, meaning the patient did actually have cancer, but pathologists had misjudged how far or fast the cancer had spread. Much like a failure to diagnose (which is also surprisingly common), such an error can ultimately lead to the unnecessary and untimely death of a patient.

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Former hematologist and oncologist Farid Fata, of Oakland County, Michigan, is serving 45 years in prison as a result of years of fraud and money-laundering. The doctor has faced lawsuits from 43 patients, and has supposedly administered unnecessary treatment to up to 533 patients from his oncology clinic Michigan Hematology Oncology, P.C. Last September, Fata pleaded guilty or no contest to money laundering, conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, and health care fraud; still, these counts fail to fully encapsulate Fata’s misdeeds.

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medical error rate, malpractice attorney in ChicagoMedical malpractice affects thousands of Americans every year due to hospital negligence or patients suffering from some type of preventable harm due to medical error. NPR referenced a Journal of Patient Safety study that concluded between 210,000 and 440,000 patient deaths occurred as a result of  preventable harm in hospitals, making it the third leading cause of death in America.

This number is more than double the 98,000 patients previously reported by the Institute of Medicine. When it comes to hospital safety, patients may be in harm’s way more often than they realize. The American Association for Justice points out more startling statistics that further emphasize a problem the nation continues to face. Its report concludes:

  • An estimated 40 wrong-site surgeries occur on a weekly basis;
  • Up to 1,500 medical sponges or surgical instruments are left inside patients every year; and
  • The same five percent of doctors are responsible for over half of all medical negligence cases.

These statistics prove that the problem is not being properly addressed. The consistent rate of medical error is cause for concern. Patients victim to medical negligence compromise not only their immediate health, but their future quality of life and financial stability. When patients must have corrective procedures or surgeries as a result of medical error, these costs cause undue hardship and health care providers need to be held accountable.

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America medical errors, Chicago medical malpractice lawyerThe risk of medical errors is a concern for a majority of patients in the United States. According to a Wolters Kluwer Health survey conducted in 2012, 73 percent of patients expressed concern about potential medical errors. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed reported either they or a family member had been a victim of a medical mistake.

Common causes of negligent medical care include:

  • Miscommunication among hospital staff;
  • Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel being in a hurry;
  • Staff fatigue; and
  • Staffing shortages at hospital.

People seeking medical care should feel confidence in doctors and hospitals and their capabilities to provide care in the patient’s best interest. This occurrence of medical misconduct is not acceptable and it is causing Americans to delay necessary medical procedures.  The survey lists almost one in five people rescheduling a procedure to avoid the weekend or end of the week, so that the doctor may be better rested.

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