Any health care settings could expose patients in Illinois to medical errors. A white paper from the nonprofit Foundation for the Innovation and Development of Health Safety explained the global scope of the problem. Primary and outpatient medical providers were the venues for as many as 40% of harmful medical errors around the world. Among those errors, the foundation’s researchers estimated that about 80% of them could have been prevented.
When researchers looked at fatalities caused by medical mistakes on a global scale, they concluded that between 5.7 and 8.4 million people die annually because of low-quality care in countries with low-to-moderate incomes. Deaths arising from surgical and perioperative events resulted in the most deaths, followed by medication errors and adverse drug events. Diagnostic errors represented the third category of errors examined by the authors of the white paper.
The Foundation explained that digital technology could greatly reduce medical errors. Electronic health records, bar code tracking of medication and computerized physician order entry systems have demonstrated the ability to slash mistakes by half. Other viable ideas for medical error reduction technology included diagnosis suggestion engines and drug interaction databases.
The global cost in lives due to medical errors arises from the suffering of individuals. A person harmed in a health care setting might want an attorney’s opinion about the potential of making a medical malpractice claim for damages. An attorney who represents medical cases could have an independent physician evaluate a person’s medical records to see if care fell below accepted standards. Problems identified, like delay in diagnosis or improper consent before a procedure, might be documented by an attorney and used to build an insurance claim or lawsuit on behalf of the victim.