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Many report suffering personal injury due to medical errors

While the government debates health insurance issues across the country, there are other matters that are discussed less frequently. Recent studies suggest that an estimated one in five Americans has had a personal experience relating to a medical mistake. In Illinois and elsewhere, these mistakes frequently end up causing a patient to suffer a serious personal injury

A collaborative study conducted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the National Patient Safety Foundation, the Lucian Leape Institute and the National Opinion Research Center focused on assessing the seriousness of the problem regarding medical errors. An estimated 21 percent of the survey respondents said they had personally experienced some form of medical error. Of those who suffered this type of mistake, approximately 73 percent said they suffered some consequence, including long-term or permanent health issues, financial problems, emotional concerns or family issues. 

Another 31 percent of the survey respondents reported that they knew of someone else with whom they had a close relationship who had experienced some type of medical error. Facilities that provide ambulatory care were identified as more likely to have a higher rate of medical errors. Those who personally experienced a medical mistake typically cited about seven different factors regarding the cause for the error that was made. 

The survey seems to mirror similar studies that have been conducted in the past. Those who are working to assure the safety of patients were encouraged to look at all settings where health care is a component and not just a designated hospital setting. Those in Illinois who have suffered a serious personal injury as a result of a medical error may be entitled to seek compensation for their monetary damages by pursuing a medical malpractice claim in civil court. 

Source:, "In Survey, 21% Report Personal Experience With Medical Errors", Sept. 30, 2017

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