The share of clinical negligence cases in the US and their financial impact

Over 40,000 of cases of harm inflicted by medical staff to patients is registered in the US daily, representing a total of 15 million annually. Importantly, in 2011, only 12% of US hospitals have participated in programs for implementing additional security programs in treatment of patients. The expenditures associated with medical errors, incurred by Medicare, annually reaches a sky-high mark of $9bn.

Consumers Union of the US has conducted a survey among more than 2,000 Americans the purpose of which was to find more details about the experience of staying in medical institutions and direct relationships with medical services providers. Almost one in five respondents (18% of cases) reported that either personally or their a family member was infected with an infectious disease during medical procedures. Some respondents reported that they had to extend their stay in a medical institution or to be hospitalised due to infection by this disease. One third of respondents reported that they faced with the commission of errors by doctors during routine medical procedures (in the UK, according to the data presented, perhaps, the largest selection of medical negligence solicitors in UK, this number equals approximately 38%). 9% of respondents said that the pharmacists gave them the wrong drugs.

Despite the significant amounts of money allocated by several healthcare bodies for prevention of the commission of medical errors in the United States, a significant iatrogenic harm is done to around 1ml. of patients annually. According to the stats plenty of patients suffer injuries caused in the homes of the elderly, rehabilitation centers, outpatient practice, as well as during surgery. Even if we take into account the fact that a certain number of medical errors do not cause any harm or causing minor damage, in other cases, it causes severe injury or death of the patient, which generally entails increased morbidity and mortality. Statistics on payments for claims filed against the doctors, interns and residents of some specialties on account of their medical malpractice lawsuits says there were 9497 of satisfied claims in the United States in 2011. The largest number of complaints among the states in the US have been filed and granted on account of the medical staff of medical malpractice in New York the amount of such cases equaled 1379.

Every year, according to the Center for Patient Safety of Connecticut, more than 3% of hospital patients suffer from committing medical errors, while 1 patient out of 300 dies as a result of such errors. 90,000 of patients die as a result of diseases of hospital-acquired infections (with more than half of these deaths could have been prevented). Only 55% of the recommended treatment courses have been properly applied. According to a study conducted in 2012 (from January, 4 to March, 6) among the pediatric departments in eight of emergency ambulances in the state of Michigan, annually serving about 4,700 patients aged less than 18 years, the errors in dosage of drugs occurred in 125 cases (out of 360), which made up 34.7% of the total number.