It's hard to hear the phrase "medical error" and not immediately assume that the doctors and medical institutions involved were obviously and completely at fault for the incident. While it may be a leap in logic, it's a pretty safe leap. Medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the United States -- but that doesn't mean the issue is so cut-and-dried.
Our source article today is one medical professional's take on the medical error, and he implores people to remember that many people who are in the hospital are inherently in a poor medical state. Our population is growing older, and with more people living into their later years, it is inevitable that many people will go to the hospital in dire straits. This doesn't excuse the medical error, of course. But it is important context. Many people in the hospital are on a downward slope to begin with.
That may sound bleak, and unfortunately, that's basically the point. And again, it shouldn't excuse poor medical care. Any medical professional who fails to uphold his or her duty of care should be held responsible for their negligent work. But sometimes, medical professional are in a no-win situation.
Obviously with this being a medical malpractice blog, we take the side of the victimized patient. But it is still important to look at the whole picture. It is important to get the other side's perspective on the topic to liven up our own understanding of this important matter.
Source: Newsweek, "Quora Question: Are Medical Errors the Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.?," Quora, May 3, 2015