By: Allan M. Siegel
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States – responsible more than 44,000 preventable deaths each year. While there is widespread support for providing information about these preventable medical errors to the general public,
USA TODAY reported last month that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had stopped doing so, despite claims that it would continue to report information about medical mistakes.
In an about-face this month, CMS officials stated that it will resume publishing statistics on hospital errors. Data that will be collected and released publicly can include a number of events involving medical negligence at acute-care hospitals across the country. Examples of these medical mistakes include:
- Foreign objects left behind after surgery
- Air embolism
- Transfusing the wrong blood time
- Pressure ulcers
- Falls and trauma causing fractures, head injuries, and other trauma
- Catheter-associated infections
- Surgical site infection
Federal regulators have been under increasing pressure to publicly release data on medical errors at hospitals, as many believe consumers have a right to this information. Due to costs, safety concerns, and the complexity of medical procedures, consumers face many challenges when making decisions about health care. By having access to information about medical mistakes, patients considering certain procedures – like elective surgeries – can research infection rate or general safety statistics at hospitals they are considering.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our Washington, DC personal injury lawyers support the decision to make information about medical malpractice available to the public. This ensures that patients have the resources they need to make informed health care decisions and that more attention is paid toward medical professionals who fail in their duties to keep patients free from preventable harm.