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Medical malpractice: Do you know enough about it?

Many people do not think that they have been or can be a victim of a medical mistake, negligence or misdiagnosis. Unfortunately, these incidences happen more often than people may be aware and there are potentially many patients across Atlanta who may be victims of malpractice.

When it comes to these types of claims, it can be crucial for people to have some knowledge of what medical malpractice is, how often it happens and what rights a patient has if he or she has been the victim of a medical or surgical error. Based on these pieces of information, a person may decide that he or she would like to take legal action and pursue compensation for damages suffered as a result of malpractice.

Did you know these facts about doctor and hospital errors?

  • Medical errors happen more often than people think: Unfortunately, reports have found that medical errors are ranked as the third-highest cause of death in this country. Some estimates suggest that nearly half a million people die every year because of harm resulting from a hospital visit. And that number may be even higher, as there are significant issues related to underreporting of errors in hospitals.
  • Mistakes that should never be made are made frequently: Complications can arise during surgeries, but doctors and nurses are expected to never make certain mistakes, including leaving foreign objects inside a patient's body and operating on the wrong body part. While exact numbers vary, reports suggest that more than 2,000 people are victims of so-called "never events" in hospitals every year. 
  • Very few victims pursue a legal claim after an incident: Only about 1 percent of patients who have been the victim of medical negligence pursue a claim against a hospital or physician. This means that malpractice claims are not clogging up courtrooms and draining resources, despite efforts to make people believe that frivolous lawsuits are an epidemic. And it may be important to note that payments on claims do not come from individual doctors for the most part. Malpractice payments are generally paid by insurance companies.

This information can be very helpful to people who are considering whether they have been the victim of medical malpractice. Gaining some knowledge, speaking with an attorney and exploring your options can help Georgia victims make the best decision. 

Source: The Pop Tort, "So, How Much Do You Know About Medical Malpractice?" Dec. 3, 2013

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