When residents in Montana are dealing with medical issues, they expect that a medical professional will properly address their problems. Even if it takes time and several tests, patients generally trust that doctors will accurately diagnose them and prescribe the correct course of treatment. Unfortunately, errors occur in the medical profession, and even a small mistake could threaten the life and health of a patient.

How common are medical errors? While a recent survey found that most people estimate that only 5,000 deaths are caused by medical mistakes each year, the real figure is significantly larger. In fact, it is terrifyingly high and medical errors claim roughly 210,000 lives a year in the United States. Moreover, one of the leading causes of death in America is medical errors.

According to the Institute of Medicine, the rate of deaths caused by medical mistakes each year is higher that the rate of breast cancer, AIDS or drug overdose. Some surgical errors – such as leaving an object like a sponge in a patient after an operation – can lead to severe medical complications. It was found that surgeons in the United States have accidentally left 4,857 objects inside of patients.

The most common medical errors occur when patient standard care is not met. An example is bedsores, which occur when a patient is not moved for a long period of time. It was found that around 500,000 Americans return to the hospital because of bedsores they developed from care they received earlier.

And while there is such a high occurrence of medical errors occurring in medical facilities across the nation, it was found that most of the time doctors and surgeons do not tell patients or their loved ones when something goes wrong. In fact, roughly only 30 percent of medical errors are ever disclosed to patients.

Patient safety is important during patient care; however, when errors are made during patient care, the safety and well-being of a patient is at risk. Whether it is a surgical error or a medical mistake, when a patient suffers due to the negligence of a medical professional, he or she might have recourse. A medical malpractice claim could help the injured patient recover compensation, helping them cover medical bills, future medical care, lost wages and other damages.

Source: Vox.com, “9 facts about medical errors you should know before entering a hospital,” Sarah Kliff, Feb. 6, 2015