According to the most recently available data from 2010, the total annual cost of medical malpractice in the United States is around $55.6 billion. As of that time, the amount was 2.4% of all healthcare spending. The number seems very high when you first look at it, but considering it is only 2.4% of all spending, it is not as shocking.
What is shocking is an estimated $45.6 billion of that figure comes from “defensive medicine” practices. Defensive medicine is how many doctors do their best to avoid lawsuits. They prescribe sometimes medically unnecessary tests and treatments to make sure they have their bases covered if someone questions them about their practices. Other figures covered in the remaining $10 billion include payments to plaintiffs in malpractice suits, lawyer fees, and administrative/associated costs.
The Impact of Malpractice
To better put these figures in perspective, it is important to look at the overall field of medical malpractice. Some people may blame malpractice lawyers for making doctors feel like they need to practice defensive medicine to avoid being taken to court. There will always be a few unfounded lawsuits here and there from firms trying to take advantage of the system, but the reality is medical professionals in positions of authority are making avoidable mistakes. Unfortunately, the legal system is the only outlet for rectifying those wrongs.
Experts estimate that 200,000 people die every year because of preventable medical errors. The largest stadium in the U.S., the Michigan Stadium, holds 107,601 people. More people than that entire stadium can hold, die every year from mistakes that could have been avoided if someone was not behaving negligently. Medical negligence is the 3rd most common cause of death behind cancer and heart disease.
The statistics on individuals who die from malpractice leave out the countless others who are severely injured or harmed as a result of malpractice. Obstetricians, gynecologists, general surgeons, and primary care physicians are the medical professionals most commonly brought to court for malpractice mistakes. These are the physicians we see most often and place our faith in, too.
When Should I Speak with a West Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Some cases are medical malpractice, and others are not. An experienced West Virginia medical malpractice attorney can help you determine if your situation is a case of medical malpractice and how to best move forward if it is. At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, we work hard to make sure our clients understand their rights under the laws so they can move past a medical malpractice claim and get back to their lives.
Why Should I Speak up Against My Doctor?
The statistics listed above also do not show the number of people who never come forward with a malpractice claim. Some people are afraid of getting their longtime doctor in trouble and others are concerned about the complications of taking legal action. If you are wondering whether or not you should take action, consider all of the consequences you have had to face as a result of medical negligence. Remember that by speaking up, you could prevent the same thing from happening to someone else.
Medical professionals have to carry malpractice insurance in the event they make a mistake. We are all only human, but mistakes made in negligence can permanently harm patients or even kill them. If you have been injured at the hands of your doctor, it is your right to file a report and a claim in court. For additional information about medical malpractice, in West Virginia, contact us today. We can help you secure the compensation you deserve to get your life back on track.