Recent Johns Hopkins Study Points to Increased Risk of Medical Errors in Intensive Care Unit

  A recent study published by physicians at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found that a disturbing  increase in the number medical mistakes / medical errors on patients while in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).  According to the study, as many as 40,500 patients die annually in intensive care units across the United States due to misdiagnoses while in the ER.  In fact, the JHU School of Medicine study found that when that number of fatalities is compared to the overall number of adult fatalities at hospitals, patients in the ICU face almost a 2 times greater risk of misdiagnosis.  According to the study, the most commonly missed conditions in the ICU were heart conditions, pulmonary embolism, infections and pneumonia.  In addition, other recent studies have pointed to the fact that longer periods of delirium suffered by patients in the ICU that goes unnoticed may result in permanent brain injuries or other cognitive impairments.  Finally, still another study found that 45% of all injuries occurring in the ICU were preventable and that 90% of those errors occurred in the context of the provision of routine care - care that should not result in injury. 

At Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White, our attorneys routinely handle medical negligence / medical mistake / medical error cases in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas involving a failure to timely and properly diagnose a patient with a particular condition.  The failure to do so often leads to the rapid progression of an illness / medical condition resulting in catastrophic injury and/or death of the patient, all of which could have been avoided by timely diagnosis.  The prosecution of these cases can be very challenging as in many instances it is difficult to determine which health care provider amongst many failed to diagnose the patient properly.  As a result, it is necessary to retain medical experts within the medical field at issue to properly evaluate the care.  At STSW, our lawyers routinely work with such experts around the country to help evaluate and assess the care that was provided to our clients and often use these experts to testify on their behalf at trial. 

As clearly evidenced by the above study, although hospital intensive care units are renowned for their highly focused and specialized care and renowned for their life saving efforts, even these units are not insulated from instances of medical mistake or negligence.  Individuals should thus be aware of the growing incidence of negligence within the walls of these units. 

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence / medical mistake stemming from a stay in a Baltimore and/or Washington D.C.'s hospital's intensive care unit, contact our lawyers for a free consultation at 410-385-2225 or visit our website to set up your free consultation.  Our lawyers routinely handle these types of cases and have the added advantage of having a registered nurse on staff in our offices to help interpret the voluminous nursing notes that accompany an ICU admission.