An Unusual Type of Med Mal

Not many people have heard about iatrogenic medical malpractice lawsuits. Iatrogenic means adverse affects due to medical treatment or advice.

While the vast majority of people have never heard of iatrogenic, it is actually far more common than one would think. In fact there is a rough estimate of 120,000 to 225,000 deaths in the U.S. every year that may be tracked back to iatrogensis. Unfortunately, there is no mandatory reporting system for iatrogenic injuries or deaths. To say that would make it a bit difficult to police and control, or even develop procedures to prevent it would be a major understatement.

Iatrogenic means something caused by accident by a doctor, a diagnostic procedure or medical treatment. In other words, it’s the adverse effects or complications resulting from advice from a health care professional and that includes a dentist, nurse, pharmacist, therapist, doctor, psychologist and as a result of alternative medical treatment and advice.

The causes of iatrogenisis are quite varied and include adverse reactions, medication errors, medical misadventure and noscomial infections.

Adverse reactions are, generally speaking, the result of someone having a bad reaction to a medication, which may be an allergy or a potentially fatal side effect. The American Medical Association estimates at least 108,000 deaths due to adverse reactions. Quite a shocking statistic, isn’t it?

According to the Institute of Medicine, there have been close to 7,000 deaths attributable to medication errors. Another good reason to double check what you are being given when you pick up a prescription or are handed something in the hospital.

Medical misadventure is an injury or other adverse effect that is the result of medical treatment. These misadventures are usually preventable medical errors, which tends to not give people a lot of faith in doctors or other health care professionals.

Noscomial infections originate in a hospital and manifest themselves by causing inflammation, swelling, infection, night sweats and breathing difficulties. This kind of infection may be responsible for the death of 80,000 annually.

Most of the figures discussed in this article deal with patients actually in a hospital. They do not cover outpatient clinics, long-term care home residents, patients not in the hospital or dental patients. It goes without saying that iatrogensis rears its head in those settings as well. Based on just these figures alone it would be enough to give anyone needing medical treatment in a hospital setting second thoughts. Another chilling aspect of iatrogenic diseases is that they are not always easy to identify. E.g. drug interactions.
Proving someone died as a result of an iatrogenic disease is a complex process. If you have lost a loved one and feel their death was the result of an adverse reaction or complication due to medical treatment, get in touch with an experienced medical malpractice attorney and discuss your potential case.

Michael G. Smith is a Little Rock injury lawyer and Little Rock accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Little Rock Arkansas. To learn more about Little Rock injury lawyer, Little Rock accident lawyer, Little Rock person injury lawyer, Little Rock malpractice lawyer, Little Rock injury attorney, Little Rock wrongful death attorney, visit