You trust your doctor with your life in many circumstances. They have the education and experience necessary to diagnose and treat your conditions. They also have the training to remain calm in high-pressure scenarios where other people would panic.
The truth is that no matter how much you trust your doctor, they can still make a mistake while providing you with care. In some scenarios, doctors make mistakes that are significant enough to cost a patient their life. How frequently do fatal medical mistakes really occur?
Medical errors are one of the top causes of death
You might think that medical malpractice is a rare occurrence, but it is shockingly common. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists make thousands of mistakes every day. Some of those mistakes are minor and easy to correct, while others can cost patients thousands in medical care or even claim their lives.
In fact, according to a study by Johns Hopkins from 2018, medical errors are the third leading cause of death. This study cites about 250,000 annual deaths due to medical errors, but other researchers claim there could be as many as 440,000 deaths each year.
The law protects patients from substandard care
Those who suffer medical malpractice usually have the right to bring an insurance claim or lawsuit against the doctor or medical facility that provided them with substandard care. In a situation where a medical mistake proves fatal, surviving family members may be able to claim wrongful death as the result of a medical mistake.