For years, the leading causes of death in the United States have been heart disease, cancer, respiratory illnesses and accidents. Until very recently, the metrics did not include those who perished due to completely preventable causes, such as negligence or other medical mistakes. Physicians in New Mexico and around the country are now paying more attention to the assertion that medical malpractice could be the third most prevalent cause of death in this country.

A recent study by patient safety researchers from Johns Hopkins University and others paints a grim picture. Medical errors account for 251,000 deaths every year in the United States. That number is greater than that of accidents (car/falls/weather/etc), stroke, respiratory disease and Alzheimer’s. This is due to many reasons, such as a communication breakdown between the various healthcare entities as patients move from one to another.

One of the most difficult factors is that reports of death due to medical mistakes are not easily given by hospitals or other medical facilities. Many facilities may not report these cases because they are concerned about a loss of funding, or they are concerned about the reputation the facility may suffer as a repercussion. Thus, many issues of death due to medical error are not reported, or they are convoluted in order to protect the integrity of an institution.

Fundamentally, the healthcare system in the U.S. is the conglomeration of various heathcare entities. Communication between all of them is getting better, but it is not fully synched, and medical mistakes and negligence will continue to occur. Victims and their loved ones who have faced disastrous consequences may benefit from contacting an attorney who is well versed in the specific medical malpractice laws in the state of New Mexico. An attorney can discuss the various legal options available when confronted with a death caused by medical errors.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Medical Errors Are The Third Leading Cause Of Death – How You Can Avoid Them”, Cary A. Presant, July 21, 2016