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A new study suggests preventable hospital deaths may be far more common than most people realize. As many as 440,000 people die may each year from preventable medical errors, and not the illnesses that landed them in the hospital in the first place, researchers estimate in the Journal of Patient Safety.
Some of these preventable mishaps include simple but grave errors such as a sponge being left inside a surgical patient, improper medication being injected, or equipment being contaminated, Forbes reports.
If a hospital's preventable error led to injury or death, victims and their relatives may be able to sue. Their legal options may include allegations such as:
Medical malpractice occurs when a negligent act or omission by a doctor or any other medical professional results in damage or harm to a patient. Here are a few factors that may affect malpractice suits:
Wrongful death lawsuits are often coupled with medical malpractice. While laws may vary by state, the elements are generally the same.
Wrongful death usually requires the death of a human being, caused either by negligence or the intent to harm. The plaintiff also usually must be a surviving family member who has proof of a monetary injury as a result of the death. For example, if you are a friend of a victim of a preventable hospital death and want to sue because you are sad, you are unlikely to succeed in a wrongful death case.
Lastly, don't forget that the time that you have to file a lawsuit after an injury or death is limited. Make sure that you check your state's civil statute of limitations period first.