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Fatal medical malpractice is more common than you may think

It is safe to assume that most Tennessee residents are aware that medical malpractice is a risk when undergoing any procedure. Even knowing about such a risk does not typically prevent those in need from consenting to treatment because medical procedures do save lives. However, you might not be as informed as you think about medical malpractice in the United States.

For many years, the only data available regarding deaths due to malpractice came from a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine. The report indicated that approximately 98,000 people die each year because of malpractice. In recent years, several organizations have attempted to uncover more information about fatal medical malpractice in the nation.

While complete accuracy remains elusive, a 2013 report in the Journal of Patient Safety put the number of malpractice deaths each year closer to between 200,000 and 400,000. Based on this information, medical experts say that medical malpractice could be the third leading cause of death in America. Further, a professional with the Indiana State University Center for Wellness thinks that malpractice deaths are grossly underestimated.

All of this information points to one conclusion: Medical malpractice endangers American lives every day. Once a family member has died because of negligence, you can never bring him or her back. However, you can fill a role in holding the responsible parties accountable. After weighing the situation with the guidance of a legal professional, you can choose to take action against the person who injured or killed your loved one.

Learning as much as possible about any recommended medical procedure from more than one source may also help you avoid a tragic outcome.

Source: MD Magazine, "Medical Errors: The Third Leading Cause of Death in the United States," Amy Jacob, accessed April 05, 2018

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