Virginia residents should be aware that a recent study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services covering the 15 percent of the U.S. population enrolled in Medicare found that each month one out of seven Medicare hospital patients is injured-and an estimated 15,000 are killed-by harmful medical practice. Moreover, treating the consequences of these medical errors cost Medicare approximately $324 million a month, which amounts to 3.5 percent of all Medicare expenditures for inpatient care. Another recent study looked at the incidence of avoidable medical errors across the entire U.S. population and concluded that they affected 1.5 million people and cost the economy $19.5 billion in 2008. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that almost 100,000 Americans now die from hospital-acquired infections alone, most of which are preventable.
These recent studies are in addition to the landmark study conducted over twelve years ago by the Institute of Medicine showing that medical errors in U.S. hospitals kill up to 98,000 Americans a year. In 2000, another estimate in the Journal of the American Medical Association put the total annual death toll at 250,000. It included fatalities resulting from unnecessary surgery, hospital-acquired infections, and other instances of harmful medical practice.
The law firm of Pierce & Thornton specializes in medical malpractice litigation throughout North Carolina and Virginia, including in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, Suffolk, and the Eastern Shore. The attorneys at Pierce & Thornton have nearly 50 years of combined experience in litigating all types of medical malpractice cases. They have obtained some of the largest jury verdicts and mediation settlements in Virginia over the past several years. We encourage you to contact our firm if you question the medical care rendered to you, a family member, or friend. If we can help you, we will. Your consultation is free.