A recently released report states that medical errors and the complications that result from them cost the U.S. economy $19.5 billion in 2008. The study was reported on in the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog, and found that medical errors were responsible for more than 2500 avoidable deaths and over 10 million lost days of work.
The study ranked the most common injuries, estimated to be resulting from error, by cost:
Bed sores – $3.9 billion
Post-operative infections – $3.7 billion
Device complications – $1.1 billion
Complications from failed spinal surgery – $1.1 billion
Hemorrhages – $960 million.
And those are just the economic costs. Oftentimes, the most devastating aspects of injury to a victim of medical errors are the non-economic aspects. These include the grief that comes with the loss of the loved one, or the inability to maintain normal functions of life, or chronic pain.
There are many patient safety resources available to assist patients and their families with being proactive in the administration of their health care. Hopefully, this study — among other similiar studies of recent years — will cause more legislative safeguards to be put into place on the national level in order to lessen not only the economic impact of this problem, but also the devastating effects that medical errors have on the lives of those injured.
As always, if you have an injury that you would like to discuss, please contact our office for a free consultation.