A patient laying in a hospital bed thinking about how common medical mistakes are.

Medical Mistakes Are More Common Than People Realize

On Behalf of Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire
Mar 10, 2023

Most people are aware that medical mistakes can happen, but they may not fully grasp just how common such missteps actually are. In fact, there have been studies that confirm that medical mistakes are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. This means that only heart disease and cancer take more lives every year – and there could even be overlap between those categories, such as when a delayed cancer diagnosis is fatal.

There are plenty of other situations in which medical mistakes are not fatal, but they can still have a drastic impact on someone’s life. For instance, wrong-site surgery that removes the incorrect limb will leave someone with a permanent disability, even though it is not necessarily a fatal error.

Why Do These Mistakes Happen?

There are many reasons why these medical mistakes occur. In some cases, miscommunication errors are the root cause. For instance, a surgeon who has been given the wrong files may perform an incorrect operation on their patient. They may have carried out that operation in accordance with the file and not made any physical mistakes while doing so, but miscommunication along the way caused the error that harms a patient.

In other cases, doctors are just human, and they make the types of mistakes you would expect. Maybe a doctor is tired or in a rush, so they’re not as careful as they should be. There are also doctors who suffer from issues like alcoholism or other types of substance abuse. Finally, doctor burnout is a real issue – which is becoming more and more common – and can lead to mistakes from doctors who are struggling mentally and emotionally to continue working in their profession.

What can you do next?

If you’ve lost a loved one or suffered serious injuries because of a medical mistake, be sure you know what legal options you have available to you. With medical mistakes happening more and more often, it’s important for all people to know what their rights are and how to seek the compensation that they deserve in the event that a medical practitioner causes harm after providing a substandard level of patient care.