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Medical errors are the nation’s third-most common cause of death

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Becoming a doctor takes considerable training, and because physicians go through so much schooling before assuming their roles, patients often believe the word of these professionals is 100-percent reliable. However, despite the length and intensity of their schooling doctors are not immune to error. And when physicians make mistakes, the repercussions can be very serious.

So, just how often are doctors making errors that compromise patient safety, and what can you do to help protect yourself?

Medical mistakes a pervasive problem

According to CNBC, doctor errors are so commonplace currently that they are the third-most common cause of death among Americans. Though cancer and heart disease are the two most common causes of death among Americans, medical errors remain a highly pervasive problem, with somewhere between about 250,000 and 440,000 American patients dying due to medical errors each year.

Common types of medical errors

These days, medical errors run the gamut, and they can include everything from a doctor’s misdiagnosis to a surgical complication that should have been avoidable. While misdiagnosing a patient’s condition is a common type of medical error, delayed diagnoses happen frequently. Both types of errors can have a substantial impact on a patient’s overall prognosis.

Medication-related medical errors are also far too common. These include dosing errors, which can occur when a doctor prescribes too much or not enough medication, and medication mix-ups, which occur when medical professionals give one patient a medication intended for someone else. Other medical errors are often administrative in nature, meaning they can result from computer errors, system defects and related circumstances.

If you question the words, advice or recommended treatments your doctor gives you, do not think twice about getting a second opinion. Also, do not hold back if you are unclear on a particular diagnosis, medication or procedure, because the more information you acquire, the more you can feel comfortable with your recommended course of treatment.

People who have suffered harm as the result of medical malpractice may be eligible for compensation. They should speak with an attorney to learn about their legal options.

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