Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional injures a patient through negligence. For example, a surgeon may accidentally leave a surgical instrument inside of a patient’s body before stitching them back up. Many people become disabled or die as a result of these types of negligent acts in Georgia and across the United States.
Here are some statistics on medical malpractice as well as what to do if you or a loved one becomes injured as a result.
The facts on medical malpractice
Some facts on medical malpractice may surprise people:
- Medical errors cause around 10% of all deaths in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death in the country
- Studies estimate that close to 250,000 die each year in the United States as a result of healthcare negligence
- Georgia residents can look online to see if a physician has ever had a malpractice claim brought against them
The statistics show that medical errors are not uncommon in the United States, so it is important that people understand what to do if an error affects them.
After understanding what constitutes medical malpractice, patients should make sure to gather all necessary documentation and evidence that might help their case. This might include incorrect prescriptions, photos of injuries and other evidence of harm. Then, the patient should report the occurrence in a timely manner, which in Georgia is generally two years from when the mistake happened.
Understanding what medical malpractice is and how to hold those who are responsible accountable puts more power into the hands of patients.