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Is Medical Malpractice Really a Leading Cause of Death?

By September 17, 2019August 17th, 2023No Comments

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the most common causes of death every year in the United States. Its information is taken from death certificates that are completed by doctors, funeral directors, medical directors and coroners, but that information fails to take medical malpractice into account as a cause of death.

The Johns Hopkins Study

Patient safety experts at Johns Hopkins University recently completed an analysis of medical death rate data over an eight year period. They concluded that more than 250,000 deaths per year in the United States were attributable to medical errors. Assuming that the Johns Hopkins conclusion is valid, that would rank medical negligence as the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer.

Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Deaths

Some doctors have dismissed the conclusion of the Johns Hopkins team as spinning numbers to drive an agenda, but even if the number was 125,000, it would still be frighteningly serious. When medical negligence causes a death, the patient or the patient’s family can file a wrongful death case and seek damages from one or more health care providers. Those might be doctors, hospitals, clinics, nurses or others who participated in the victim’s care and treatment. Some of the more common causes of death resulting from medical errors include:

  • A failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Medication errors
  • Sepsis

Along with a wrongful death action, California law also provides for what’s known as a survival action if the decedent didn’t immediately die from his or her injuries. Different damages can be awarded in each type of action.

With offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Central Valley, the Mitchell Leeds, LLP is the top rated medical malpractice law firm in California. We’re uniquely qualified to represent the families of those who have died as a result of medical negligence. Contact us for a free consultation about your loss at 415-702-9928, or email us by completing our short intake form, and we’ll be back with you in 24 hours.