According to medical experts who testified before Congress, tracking and preventing harm to patients is not the priority that it needs to be. The experts stated that the number of preventable injuries and deaths is not going to decrease unless more aggressive steps are taken. One professor, according to reports, stated that patient protection now is not any better than it was when an Institute of Medicine report on safety was published 15 years ago.
A problem that was commonly cited in the testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging was the fact that many feel that the level of harm is not taken seriously enough. Many are concerned about whether lawmakers have given this appropriate attention in light of the fact that preventable patient harm has become the third-leading cause of death for Americans. Several medical professionals expressed hope that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would start tracking these incidents.
There are many things that lead to medical malpractice suits. One reason why many people seek legal remedies is because of adverse reactions from prescribed medications. Medication errors also account for a lot of patient injuries. Because 25 percent of these types of incidents happen within a month of having a drug prescribed, plaintiffs may want to act quickly.
While many associate medical professional negligence with inpatient settings, much of this happens in an outpatient setting. Misdiagnosis, for example, often results in patients undergoing the wrong course of treatment and having things done for them that are not beneficial for their actual condition. Because a wrong diagnosis can have such severe consequences, patients will often want to seek damages.
Source: NPR, "Health Safety Experts Call For Public Reporting Of Medical Harms", Marshall Allen, July 18, 2014