3,128 Lives Lost in AZ Hospitals From Avoidable Medical Errors
Physicians, surgeons and other health care providers owe a duty of care to their patients. They must obey the rules and standards of the medical industry to look out for the best interests of their patients. Unfortunately, thousands of hospitals and medical providers breach this duty to engage in acts of malpractice that ultimately harm patients. A May 2019 Hospital Safety Grade Report by The Leapfrog Group displays how rampant medical malpractice is in U.S. hospitals. Arizona’s numbers reflect at least 3,128 deaths due to avoidable medical errors.
Why Does Malpractice Happen in Arizona Hospitals?
Medical malpractice is the legal term for preventable errors made during a patient’s treatment that cause harm to the patient. Malpractice is a prevalent problem in many hospitals based on the Leapfrog report. The study found approximately 160,000 deaths related to medical errors in hospitals nationwide each year. Leapfrog rated over 2,600 hospitals in the U.S. on a grading system, with A hospitals being the safest and F hospitals being the most dangerous for patients. It found that patients at D and F hospitals had a 92% higher risk of avoidable death than those at A hospitals.
Arizona came in at number 34 in the country for the grades of its hospitals. Arizona had no F hospitals and only two D hospitals: Valley View Medical Center in Fort Mohave and Canyon Vista Medical Center in Sierra Valley. Most of the hospitals in Arizona received B and C grades. Nine hospitals received A grades, representing 20% of all hospitals Leapfrog graded in Arizona. Leapfrog looked at 28 different measures before grading each hospital, including the processes each institution had in place to prevent errors in patient care.
Arizona’s medical malpractice death toll of 3,128 represents a culmination of serious and preventable medical mistakes. While patient injuries and deaths are not the results of just one mistake, medical malpractice occurs often due to lack of communication at a hospital. Poor communication and failure to adhere to proper protocols during patient care can lead to serious mistakes, such as operating on the wrong patient. The Leapfrog spring report estimated that 50,000 patients would have survived in the previous year had every hospital in the U.S. been an A hospital.
Common Avoidable Medical Errors
Avoidable medical errors are mistakes that prudent, safe and high-quality health care centers would not make. They are mistakes in patient care or treatment that stem from preventable problems such as poor patient care, lack of attention, miscommunication, bad sanitation, infections and accidents. Many different medical errors can lead to patient injuries in Arizona.
- Improper patient treatment
- Labor, delivery and birth injuries
- Emergency room negligence
- Errors in the operating room or at surgical centers
- Wrong-patient or wrong-site surgeries
- Anesthesia mistakes or intubation errors
- Poor patient care before or after surgery
- Incorrect prescriptions or dosages
- Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, failure to diagnose
While hospitals given A grades by Leapfrog are not perfect, they do more to prevent unnecessary patient deaths and injuries than health care centers with lower grades. Hospitals with lower grades typically engage in negligent, careless or reckless practices more often than others – resulting in higher numbers of preventable patient deaths.
How Injured Patients Can Fight Back
Victims of medical malpractice in Arizona do not have to accept their losses without a fight. Arizona law allows injured patients and surviving loved ones to file medical malpractice lawsuits against health care providers in pursuit of justice and compensation. A medical malpractice claim aims to hold the at-fault party responsible for causing an otherwise preventable patient injury or death. It sheds light on dangerous practices by the defendant and could lead to financial recovery for the claimant. Speak to a Phoenix medical malpractice attorney today if you believe you have suffered from a medical error at a hospital in Arizona.