While most people in Pennsylvania live their entire lives without becoming victims of a serious medical mistake, such errors are more common than you might think. In fact, medical malpractice kills more Americans than just about anything, according to experts.
One study estimates that serious mistakes by doctors and other healthcare professionals cause up to 251,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. That would make malpractice the third-leading cause of death in this country. There are doubtless many more mistakes in which the patient survives but suffers needless injury or is lucky enough to escape unscathed. But the study estimates that fewer than 10 percent of medical errors get reported, so we may never know the full scope of the problem.
Living with the results of medical negligence
It is likely that the vast majority of physicians’ mistakes are minor enough that they cause no long-term harm to patients. But bad outcomes are still common enough to pose a severe health danger. Survivors may be fortunate not to lose their lives at the hands of a negligent doctor. But a lifetime of disability might be the price they pay. A surgical error or unreasonable misdiagnosis can have a major impact on your physical and mental health.
Everybody makes mistakes sometimes, even doctors. Malpractice goes beyond a forgivable error from a well-meaning physician. It means the healthcare provider violated their legal duty toward you, and their care fell below an acceptable level. Pennsylvania law gives patients dealing with the fallout of medical malpractice the right to pursue compensation from the individuals and facilities responsible.