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Richard Patterson
Richard Patterson
Attorney •

Medical Malpractice

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Medical malpractice is an act or omission by a health care provider which deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community and which causes injury to the patient.

The American Academy of Family Physicians looks to a study entitled “Learning from Malpractice Claims about Negligent, Adverse Events in Primary Care in the United States”, in suggesting that the medical community can learn from medical malpractice claims. In that study, researchers looked at primary care malpractice claims settled between 1985 and 2000 in the United States. The study focused on a subset of 5,921 claims that were clear errors. The researchers found:

68 percent of the errors were in outpatient settings and resulted in more than 1,200 deaths;
Negligence was more likely to have severe outcomes when they occurred in hospitals, but the total number of high severity outcomes and death was larger in the outpatient setting;
Of the 10 most prevalent medical conditions with error-related claims, no single condition accounted for more than five percent of all negligent claims; and
Diagnostic error accounted for more than one-third of the claims.

Additionally, a recent study by Heathgrades found that an average of 195,000 hospital deaths in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 in the U.S. were due to potentially preventable medical errors.