Medical-malpractice-definitionThe Institute of Medicine, a non-profit and non-partisan watchdog group, reports that 98,000 people die in the United States each year as a result of medical malpractice.

That converts to an average of 268 people dying daily. Can you imagine the news coverage if, every single day, a preventable disaster – a plane crash, a train wreck or a highway pile-up – caused that death toll?

Things would change, and change fast.

I recently came across a compelling breakdown of medical malpractice cases on the Day on Torts blog by Tennessee attorney John A. Day.

In the post “New Medical Malpractice Filing Numbers,” Day put a regional twist on national figures concerning medical malpractice cases, presenting statistics specific to Tennessee. I’m going to do the same for New York state – and the results are pretty scary.

In any state, too much loss of life

New York contains close to 19.5 million people; the USA’s total population is about 304 million. That means 15.5% of the U.S. population lives in New York.

Statistically, of the national 98,000 deaths a year from medical malpractice, New York sees about 14,700. Breaking it down further, there are about 40 deaths PER DAY in New York state caused by malpractice.

Some ways to consider the shocking number of preventable deaths from an even more local perspective:

  • Every six weeks, you could more than fill the Clemens Center’s Powers Theater in Elmira with the number of people who lost their lives to medical mistakes or negligence, just in the state of New York.
  • Imagine a full, 36-seat bus, plus a driver and three people standing in the center aisle. That many people lose their lives each day.
  • The number of people killed medical malpractice deaths in New York annually would fill the First Arena to capacity close to 4 times.

Sometimes facts do not really come home to roost until you can think of them in close-to-home terms. I owe the idea of reworking the national statistics to John A. Day. I think it is an important way to rid yourself of two head-in-the-sand ideas: Malpractice doesn’t happen often (WRONG) and malpractice doesn’t happen in my area (WRONG AGAIN).

Thanks for reading,
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529