Medical Malpractice


93% of medical malpractice cases are resolved before the trial, and only 7% end up with a jury verdict.

Jay Park, Staff Reporter

Doctors are well respected in society, and they have a reason to be, as they are subjected to countless hours of learning, studying, and training to gain the right to hold responsibilities over another person’s life. There can be cases as simple as a kidney stone removal (shockwave lithotripsy), and there are cases as crucial as a lung transplant. Pretend you are undergoing such an operation. Our fear is not of the process itself, because we know that it has been proven safe, but it is the fact that something might go awry amidst the surgery in the hands of another human.

There is a name for this mistake; Medical malpractice is defined as a professional negligence by a healthcare provider in which the treatment provided causes injury and death to the patient. Medical malpractice does not have to be such a major problem. It could be as minor as leaving a foreign object like a sponge in your stomach.  Or not so minor, as in the case of Michael Jackson.

On 12:21 p.m., July 25, 2009, Michael Jackson was reported unconscious from an unidentified caller. At 2:26 p.m., after being rushed to the hospital by paramedics, he was pronounced dead due to cardiac arrest. Michael Jackson’s autopsy proved that large amounts of addictive painkillers led to his death. Medical doctors freely provided pain medicine at his house. Michael Jackson’s addiction was left unsupervised and it ultimately killed him. Even celebrities can become victims of medical malpractice, specifically the doctor’s negligence.

In reported medical malpractice claims, death occurs 31 percent of the time, out of 599,945 in the United States alone from years 2004 to 2014. The data was provided by the NPDB, National Practitioner Data Bank. The number is nothing to scoff at, however.

93% of medical malpractice cases are resolved before the trial, and only 7% end up with a jury verdict.
93% of medical malpractice cases are resolved before the trial, and only 7% end up with a jury verdict.

A surgeon nurse with 24 years of experience in the medical field, Aesook Kim, was interviewed about medical malpractice. She described as medical malpractice as being infamous due the moral consequences and the likelihood of being instantly fired. In order to prevent this, her hospital takes heavy precautionary measures. “You might have heard of the Five Rights (of Medication Administration). They are the right medication, right time, right patient, right dose, and right route.” she spoke. She explained that the procedures broke down into things like “time-outs” before the operation to confirm the 5 rights, and making sure they were correct by marking the patient prior to the operation. Despite this, Nurse Kim said, “Mistakes still happen. They happen more often than you think.” She brought up situations where some operations in the hospitals overdosed the patient, injected the medication through IV tubes than oral, and even almost operated on the incorrect leg.

The saying “to err is human” is associated with a lot of these cases, but such high rates of medical malpractice should be noted. In order to minimize the risks, the patient should find someone of proper qualifications and make sure that all the preparations are correct. Because in the end, one must take their own responsibility first, then leave the technicalities to the professional.