You know your body better than anyone, so when something is ailing you, you probably recognize that something is amiss and seek treatment accordingly. If you are like most Americans, you probably place a good deal of faith in your primary care doctor and his or her ability to properly diagnose your condition and treat it appropriately. However, doctors are not immune to making mistakes, and when they do make medical errors, they may have deadly consequences.
According to CNBC, today’s physicians are making mistakes far more frequently than you might like to think, and patients across the nation are dying as a result. In fact, medical errors have become so prevalent across the United States that they have become the third-most-common cause of death among Americans.
Just how often are doctors making potentially deadly medical mistakes across the nation? According to an estimate from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, more than 250,000 people lose their lives because of medical mistakes every year in the United States. While this number certainly causes concern, so, too, does the fact that this figure may well be an underestimation. Not all fatalities caused by medical mistakes undergo reporting as such, so the true number of annual deaths linked to medical mistakes may be closer to 440,000.
Types of medical errors
Medical errors result from many different circumstances. In some cases, patients experience hardships after doctors recommend invasive and unnecessary treatments or procedures. In other cases, a patient’s condition worsens due to an inaccurate or missed medical diagnosis. Medication-related errors are also common and highly dangerous, and even clerical or administrative errors have the potential to adversely impact a patient’s health.
When you question or doubt what your doctor tells you, do not hesitate to seek a second medical opinion. In some cases, doing so could mean the difference between making a full recovery and potentially losing your life.