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Alarming medical facts

Massachusetts residents who seek medical attention, especially in hospitals, should be aware that there are some major concerns about the way that healthcare is managed. In addition to having to worry about things like anesthesia negligence and wrong site surgeries, there are also issues of wasted resources and doctors making medical choices based on avoiding a lawsuit instead of what is best for the patient.

One of the most alarming facts comes from a recent study that was published in the Journal of Patient Safety. It states that between 210,000 and 400,000 patients die every year as a result of mistakes made by medical professionals. The study indicates that preventable harm to patients is the third leading cause of death in the United States, edged out by cancer and heart disease. Associated with this is an Institute of Medicine study, titled "Best Care at Lower Cost," that reports that a third of patients suffer some form of preventable harm while in a hospital.

Medical errors are not the only issues of concern. It is estimated that 30 percent of all healthcare costs are wasted due to things like fraud, unnecessary services and excessive administration costs, according to another study from the Institute of Medicine published in 2011. As a result of these growing and wasted expenses, healthcare costs are expected to rise to an incredible $4.5 trillion by 2019.

Individuals who visit a hospital should not be worried that medical staff will neglect them or make outright errors when caring for them. If an individual has been harmed as a result of a hospital stay, a lawyer could help him or her to understand his or her rights and options for legal recourse.

Source: Forbes, "Six Frightening Facts You Need To Know About Healthcare", Robert J. Szczerba, October 22, 2013

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