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Medical malpractice is a killer: Here's what patients should know

Making errors is a way of life for many people. Humans learn that way. There is one group of people who simply cannot make mistakes, though, and those people are medical providers.

When a medical doctor, nurse or other staff member makes a mistake, it may threaten the life of a patient who came for care. Many times, patients don't recognize errors as they begin to develop. They don't notice a doctor not wearing gloves or marking the wrong leg before surgery. It's hard for others to be their own advocates.

How many people die from medical malpractice and errors each year in the USA?

Medical providers have a responsibility to their patients to take it slow, be responsible and to double check everything they do. One seemingly small mistake could mean the end of a patient's life.

It's estimated that around 200,000 patients die every year as a result of medical malpractice. The horrible thing about this is that many of these deaths could have been prevented. Some are caused by never events, aptly named to refer to events that never should have happened, like leaving a sponge in a patient. Others occur because of neglect or malicious actions. In any case, no patient deserves substandard care.

What should you do if you've been hurt in a hospital or in a primary care facility?

The best thing you can do is know your rights. As a patient, you have a right to care that is appropriate and within the standard of care provided by other medical professionals in the same field.

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