Anthony Tarricone, President of the American Association for Justice, published a piece in the Huffington Post reminding the public to remember those who have fallen victim to medical error. This week is Patient Safety Awareness Week, which is an annual national education and awareness campaign. This year it is especially important because it falls in the midst of the recent health care debate. As those in Congress debate medical malpractice they must remember the 98,000 patients that die annually as a result of preventable medical error. Put a different way, if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified medical errors as a category it would be the sixth leading cause of death in America.
Many Republicans have focused on the idea of tort reform as one of the major solutions to America’s health care problems. However, there has been a great deal of evidence that shows changing tort law would do nothing to lower costs or cover the uninsured. It should also be noted that the 98,000 people figure only includes those who died, and not those who were seriously injured by medical error. These extra numbers include a woman who had to have four amputations after a routine kidney stone surgery. The doctors had sent her home with no treatment and her kidney blockage caused a full body infection. This is just one of the many victims of medical error. While health reform is needed, it cannot be at the expense of victims. Contact your local Congressman and voice your support for patient awareness. To read more from the AAJ’s President’s post, please click the link.