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A kind word might save your life

A recent study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine revealed that medical mistakes rank very high as a cause of death in the United States with over 250,000 reported fatalities each year. The top causes of death in the country include these fatal incidents:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Medical mistakes

The researchers added that, if the study had included nursing home deaths, the average might have been even higher. Despite this, death certificates don't list medical malpractice as a cause of death. After losing a loved one to medical errors, you may agree that such a step would help draw attention to the problem.

Sticks and stones may break my bones

When your loved one was in the hospital, do you recall what you said to the doctor responsible for his or her care? Were you polite or rude? Did you defer to the doctor's opinion, or did you express doubt about the prescribed treatment? The university study suggests that families or patients who speak rudely to their doctors have a 40 percent higher chance of being victims of medical errors.

Apparently, many doctors are unable to prevent the emotional reaction to a rude comment from interfering with their cognitive functions. Even if your comments did not relate to the doctor's ability to treat your loved one, the doctor may have taken it so personally that he or she was unable to perform the job with skill and accuracy. The study concludes that part of a physician's training in the future might include dealing with these emotional distractions.

Learning from mistakes

Even if you said something negative to the doctor out of concern or anxiety over your loved one's care, the fact remains that the medical professional made a costly mistake. Whether it was a routine procedure or major surgery, you may wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in order to hold accountable the medical professional responsible for your loved one's death.

Successful malpractice lawsuits serve several purposes. Not only do they provide you with monetary compensation for your loss, but they also draw attention to the mistakes the medical professional made. This can have the positive result of forcing the facility to make important safety changes as well as alerting medical professionals that negligent actions won't be tolerated. After losing a loved one to a medical mistake, you have every right to consult an attorney. You will learn about your options and receive guidance for taking the next step in pursuing justice.

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