According to the Institute of Medicine, preventable medical errors contribute to the deaths of 44,000 to 98,000 hospital patients every year in America. That’s a broad range of fatalities, but even at the lower end of the spectrum (which would be 120 patients per day!) it’s entirely unacceptable. Then there are the cases where patients have survived but had their lives ruined by medical negligence, like the Milwaukee woman who had to have all her limbs amputated due to septic shock after doctors failed to detect a Strep A infection. If you think that’s disturbing, brace yourself. The more you look into medical malpractice, the more disturbing it gets.
Wisconsin medical malpractice lawsuits: 5 disturbing facts Medical malpractice in WI: Facts, lawsuits & worst cases
Milwaukee medical malpractice attorneys tell you what you need to know
Warning: What you are about to read may make you think twice about ever going to a hospital again. Bear in mind, however, most doctors and health care providers are skilled professionals who truly care about their patients’ wellbeing. Unfortunately, accidents happen and mistakes are made.
Although many attorneys have stopped taking on malpractice cases, Warshafsky Law is a medical malpractice law firm that still represents victims of negligence by doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers. If there are grounds for a lawsuit, we will represent you on a contingency basis. Only after your case is resolved and you have been compensated do we ask for payment. Additionally, our No Win, No Fee policy ensures there is never any financial risk to you whatsoever.
Here are five of the most unsettling facts about medical malpractice everyone should be aware of:
1. Malpractice cover-ups are commonplace.
Think it’s only a rare occasion when something goes wrong? Think again. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 70 percent of medical malpractice victims weren’t told anything about the situation. Only after problems arose did the truth come out. All too often, healthcare providers will do whatever they can to sweep their mistakes under the rug.
2. 1 out of every 3 patients will be a victim of an error during a hospital stay.
It’s shocking but true. A statistic like this makes you question everything about our medical system. On the one hand, you don’t want to blow off medical treatment when necessary, but on the other hand you probably want to avoid hospitals as much as possible.
3. Surgical “never events” are far more frequent than “never.”
According to research by Johns Hopkins University, “never events” (as in “never should take place”) happen about 4,000 times each year in the US. That’s about 80 events per week! They include incidents of surgical instruments left in the patient, wrong procedures performed, operations on the wrong surgical site and even on the wrong patient.
4. Most malpractice cases are brought on by misdiagnosis of an illness.
You might think most malpractice cases are the result of some horrible mistake during surgery, but it’s actually misdiagnosis. The two most common misdiagnoses are cancer and heart attacks. As a result, it’s become increasingly necessary for patients to be proactive in their healthcare—starting with getting a second opinion if there is even the slightest concern there’s a potentially serious condition.
5. Finding a malpractice attorney is getting harder.
Many attorneys in Wisconsin are abandoning malpractice cases. The cost of mounting a successful malpractice case is immense, and the payout is rarely commensurate. Factors contributing to this include:
- Wisconsin's $750,000 cap on "noneconomic" damages (such as pain and suffering or loss of companionship). If the doctor is employed by the state, the cap is even lower—$250,000, even if the doctor's negligence causes an injury that will require lifelong care and millions of dollars in treatments.
- Wisconsin law allows only spouses and minor children to sue for loss of companionship in a medical malpractice death case. Yet, if the same doctor had killed the patient in a car accident, there would be no such restriction.
- Collecting on medical malpractice claims is more difficult than ever. In Wisconsin, the number of claims paid in the 10-year period from 2003 to 2013 declined more than 66%, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank, a registry maintained by the federal government.
- The state's malpractice insurance fund, (the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund) has had the unforeseen result of motivating private insurance companies to fight even obvious cases of malpractice because the most they would have to pay out if they lose a multimillion-dollar verdict is $1 million.