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In 1999 the Institute of Medicine published its landmark study “To Err is Human” which estimated that medical errors cause up to 98,000 deaths per year. Now, Pro Publica reports on a study in the current issue of the /Journal of Patient Safety that more than doubles that estimate.

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According to the evidence-based study between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die each year as a result of medical errors. This would make medical mistakes the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer (all cancers combined).

I’d like to say that I’m shocked by this finding, but I’m not. Unfortunately, doing what I do every day I see the mistakes constantly. You would think that I see the bad medicine and not the good, but that isn’t entirely true. In fact, what I see most often is very good, even heroic, medicine every day. The care that is given to try to correct the mistakes made, usually by others, is often incredible. But the mistakes that set the patient down that path are often clear and infinitely preventable.

Attempts to shield doctors and hospitals from the effects of their mistakes, such as attempts to limit the damages that can be awarded in medical negligence lawsuits, are misplaced. Instead, the focus should be on eliminating the mistakes, through the implementation of processes and procedures to eliminate the most frequent errors. And true oversight by state regulators on physician licenses and hospital accreditation is also needed.

It makes sense that the focus should be on eliminating the problems and helping the victims of medical mistakes, not on shielding the negligent.

CNN reports that a popular inflatable pool slide, sold by Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, has been recalled due to deaths and severe injuries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has order the recall of the Banzai Splash inflatable pool slide. The slide can partially deflate, causing serious injuries. At least one death and one incident of paralysis have been reported. Additionally, the slide is unstable and carries inadequate warnings and instructions.

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If you or a family member has been injured as a result of using one of these slides, please call our office immediately for a consultation. You must act quickly to protect your rights. Contact us at 1-800-557-8176 or click here.

Consumers Union, a national non-profit organization, has just released a new report that follows a landmark report of 10 years ago. Unfortunately, the new report isn’t good news.In To Err is Human – To Delay is Deadly, the group reports that more than 99,000 people die each year in the United States from medical errors. This is up from the figure of 98,000 deaths per year reported by the Institute of Medicine in 1999. In the the intervening 10 years, we have made no progress.What are some of the reasons for this disturbing lack of improvement? Consumer Union reports that, among many reasons, few hospitals have adopted well-known systems to prevent medication errors and that the FDA rarely intervenes. Medicine, as an industry has failed to adopt transparent systems for reporting errors. The medical industry has failed to raise standards for competency of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.Consumers Union makes this disturbing analogy: 99,000 deaths per year is equivalent to a jumbo jet full of passengers crashing and killing everyone on board every other day. In no other industry would Americans allow these kinds of errors to continue to occur.I struggle every day to bring accountability to those who have injured or killed patients. If you or a family member are a victim of medical negligence, contact me at stlpersonalinjury.com.

The Houston Chronicle reported today that three deaths from smoke inhalation as a result of a 2007 Houstan office fire were the result of “pollution,” as in smoke inhalation. The very idea of this is ludicrous in the extreme. The insurance company is trying to get out of paying for the losses suffered by three families due to their family members deaths. Fires cause smoke, smoke contains pollutants, to be sure. But to say that death caused by smoke inhalations is a result of pollution is simply beyond belief. Keep this in mind next time you hear a story about a crazy lawyer suing for a million dollars for a lost pair of pants. For every “missing pants” case, there are literally thousands where insurance companies have adopted these tortured readings of their own policies in an attempt to avoid their responsibilities.

In the most recent 3 years of reported data, more than 94 people have died in ATV accidents in Missouri. //atvsafety.gov Nationally, more than 1200 deaths were reported as a result of ATV accidents.If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of an ATV accident, you should contact The Law Offices of Todd N. Hendrickson. We can investigate the accident and determine if there is an applicable product recall or safety violation. Many people are completely unaware of the Missouri safety laws regarding ATV ridership. These and other factors must be investigated in the event of an ATV accident.Contact Todd N. Hendrickson for a free consultation.