Although medical science has allowed us to live longer and healthier lives, it is not without risks. Nearly all types of medical procedures and treatments pose risks to patients. While some risks are unavoidable, many can be effectively managed in order to ensure positive outcomes. Unfortunately, when medical professionals commit errors, deviate from the recognized standard of care, or otherwise fail in their duty of taking reasonable measures to reduce risks, patients can suffer preventable harm.
Medical mistakes on the part of physicians, nurses, and other health care providers injure and kill hundreds of thousands of patients each year in the United States. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that medical negligence ranks just behind heart disease and cancer as the third leading cause of death nationwide. With medical errors as common as they are, one would think that medical providers would be honest and upfront when mistakes occur. According to a recent study, however, most health care professionals would actually work to conceal their role in a medical mistake.