For years, doctors and hospitals have fought for ways to reduce or eliminate the rights of injured patients to receive compensation. Massive lobbying helped them implement "tort reform" in a number of jurisdictions. These groups argued that spurious litigation and runaway insurance premiums were driving the sharp rise in the cost of health care. Those groups continued their lobbying efforts when the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, was being discussed. Medical professionals claimed that lawsuits would spike and costs would rise under the ACA. A recent survey indicates that the Act has not made any difference in medical malpractice premiums.
Under normal circumstances, most patients would not take a drug or rely on a medical device that had not been properly tested and approved. But there are situations where a patient may be desperate enough to consider a risky treatment with little guarantee of improvement. When it comes to deadly illnesses with no known cure, patients have little to lose in volunteering to be test subjects. One particular case has drawn attention and led to questions about a patient's right to try an unapproved course of treatment.
Stories of surgeons leaving surgical tools in patients or nurses confusing medications between patients command headlines. Yet these stories remain easy to dismiss. When you're a patient, you want to assume you're in good hands. Usually, you are. Nevertheless, even the best doctor or nurse can make mistakes. A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine indicate that the prevalence of such mistakes can be eerily high. In fact, "medical errors" in health care settings account for the estimated loss of 151,000 lives every year, surpassing the number of deaths from stroke, Alzheimer's, accidents and respiratory disease. While the numbers are staggering, few people know about them. The reasons may surprise you.
Death is often noted as a difficult life event that is hard to cope with. Whether it is a friend or a family member, a person's sudden and tragic death can be difficult to move on from. This is especially true if a loved one was killed in a fatal accident.