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More than one million injured each year by medical mistakes

Baltimore residents understand that, at one time or another, everyone makes mistakes. Learning to admit these mistakes and learn from them is what may make the difference in not repeating them again. For some professionals in the medical community, however, not only are mistakes not being corrected, but patients who have suffered personal injury because of the mistakes are not even being told about them.

According to a new study from the Institute of Medicine, 75,000 unnecessary deaths occur as a result of medical errors in the United States each year, along with more than one million injuries. Despite these staggering numbers, more than 30 percent of doctors and nurses actually underreported their clinical oversights.

Of course, not every mistake that is made in the hospital results in actionable medical malpractice. Minor errors may not even cause personal injury. Of those that do, however, the injured patient will need to establish that the injury was caused by doctor negligence in order to support a medical malpractice claim.

This entails showing that the doctor violated the standard of care that he or she was bound to follow. Often times, expert testimony may be necessary to show what the standard of care was in a particular case, and how the doctor or nurse in the case violated it.

Many doctors neglect to inform their patients when a mistake has been made. Accordingly, when a patient has been injured, he or she must take the necessary steps in order to determine whether the doctor was negligent, as a matter of law, and learn how to recover relief for the injury.

Source: Huffington Post, "Health care 101: dealing with a medical error," Brian Secemsky, Sept. 12, 2013

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