As everyone really knows, the most important mission of the U.S. healthcare system is to maximize the profits of the corporations in the healthcare industry. Actually treating and healing patients is, unfortunately and at best, a secondary priority. In some important ways, the situation hasn’t really improved very much in recent years, either. For example, and whether you were in favor of it or opposed to it, the fact is that the Affordable Care Act has placed no new emphasis on preventive healthcare, and it includes no mechanism for putting the brakes on rapidly rising healthcare costs in the United States. In a broken healthcare system where medical malpractice has itself become one of the leading causes of death, the Affordable Care Act has not done enough or gone far enough. The entire U.S. healthcare system and healthcare industry probably need to be overhauled and reformed from the ground up, given the epidemic of medical malpractice and the many other ways that the system fails the average U.S. consumer who seeks healthcare treatment and services.
According to its website, the Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that, since 1918, has made charitable donations and research grants with the aim of improving global health care practices and related governmental policies. A survey recently conducted by the Commonwealth Fund compares consumer attitudes regarding healthcare systems and services in seven developed nations: Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. Of those seven nations, U.S. consumers were the least likely to report being “relatively satisfied” with their healthcare. In fact, the survey suggests these six ways that the U.S. healthcare system consistently fails the very people it is supposed to serve:
1. LESS BANG FOR THE BUCK
The United States spends more on healthcare costs than the next ten largest-spending nations – combined. Yet the U.S. ranks eighteenth in health and mortality. The inefficient delivery of healthcare services, unneeded treatments, medical malpractice, and insurance fraud all plague the U.S. healthcare system. More than a third of healthcare consumers in this nation struggle to pay their medical bills. And according to researchers at George Washington University, the average cost of a hospital stay in the United States is $18,000, but that cost can vary dramatically depending on your needs and where you live.
2. ALARMING RATES FOR CHRONIC DISEASES
Despite the billions of dollars that we spend on healthcare and healthcare education in the United States, we still generally fail as a nation to practice effective preventive care. Many of us still cling to unhealthy diet, exercise, and sleep habits. Processed foods filled with sugar and chemical additives make the nearly 4,000 calories a day consumed by the average American virtually nutrition-free. Insulin dysfunction is rising in the U.S. and driving up the rates for diabetes, kidney disease, and a number of other serious, chronic medical conditions.
3. INADEQUATE COORDINATION AND DELIVERY OF SERVICES
Especially when a patient’s medical condition is complicated and the patient needs to receive different healthcare services from multiple providers, the U.S. healthcare system can be woefully inefficient. Duplicate testing, barriers to obtaining medical records, and communication and confidentiality failures are routine. Many healthcare facilities are overcrowded, overscheduled, understaffed, and ineffectively managed. For example, the Commonwealth Fund found that about thirty percent of all medical lab tests in the U.S. have to be reordered because someone loses the results. And apparently, about 7,000 people also die every year simply because of sloppy or unintelligible handwriting by doctors. Two-thirds of us in the United States find access to healthcare services is inadequate at night, on the weekends, and during holidays except through hospital emergency rooms, where care can be much costlier and less efficient. Only thirty percent of the healthcare consumers surveyed in the United States reported that they are able to see a doctor the same day they need one.
4. COSTS ARE STILL RISING
Today, more Americans carry some kind of health insurance than they did prior to the Affordable Care Act, but all healthcare costs in the U.S, are rising swiftly, and more than forty million of us are still underinsured. The Commonwealth Fund finds that about a quarter of us in the United States actively avoid seeing a doctor – even when we’re sick. Nearly two-thirds of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are linked to medical debt, and almost a quarter of healthcare consumers in the United States reportedly can’t even afford to have their prescriptions filled.
5. DISSATISFACTION WITH “THE SYSTEM”
While about seventy percent of us in the U.S. are “satisfied” with our doctors – we like them personally – the Commonwealth Fund found that only sixteen percent of U.S. healthcare consumers are satisfied with the nation’s healthcare “system.” And many of us are not pleased with the way physicians explain things to us, with the amount of time that we actually have with the doctor, or with how efficiently the office staffs handle matters like medical records and appointments.
6. MEDICAL MISTAKES ARE TOO FREQUENT
Several research studies in recent years have confirmed that the number of fatalities caused by preventable hospital errors in the United States may be nearly 100,000 a year. That’s more than 250 deaths every day linked to medical malpractice in this country. Medical malpractice costs our nation more than $3.6 billion every year. The kinds of medical mistakes that might legally constitute medical malpractice include misdiagnosis and the failure to diagnose, improper treatments, inappropriate prescriptions, unnecessary surgeries, and surgical mistakes that can include – in the most egregious instances – operating on the wrong body part or even on the wrong person.
The law defines medical malpractice as the negligence of a healthcare professional that causes the decline of a patient’s health, causes added injury to the patient, or causes a patient’s wrongful death. While sensational surgical mistakes get the most attention, only a small percentage of malpractice incidents in the U.S. actually happen during surgical procedures. Rather, it is misdiagnosis that is the most common kind of medical malpractice. About twelve million healthcare consumers – suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, and other chronic conditions – are misdiagnosed in hospitals, health clinics, and doctors’ offices every year in the United States. A misdiagnosis can lead to prescribing the wrong medication or recommending the wrong treatment, and that can severely injure someone who’s already suffering with a serious medical condition.
Millions live with chronic kidney disease in the United States, and the research shows that far too many of those patients will be victims of medical malpractice. If you or someone you love with kidney disease has been a victim of misdiagnosis or any other medical malpractice, you should speak at once with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who exclusively represents kidney disease patients.
Simple blood tests will detect kidney disease, but the symptoms of kidney disease can be subtle, especially in the early stages. Still, the failure to identify particular symptoms can mean that appropriate treatment for kidney disease is delayed or never ordered. If it’s diagnosed accurately and early and treated properly, kidney disease can usually be managed without too much inconvenience, and many kidney disease sufferers can live a relatively normal life. For everyone with kidney disease, a precise and early diagnosis is essential. Testing is recommended for anyone over sixty and for anyone with a family history of kidney disease. If a doctor or a healthcare provider fails to order the right tests or to follow up on results that indicate kidney disease, that failure is medical malpractice.
WHAT WILL YOU HAVE TO PROVE?
To win a medical malpractice claim of kidney disease misdiagnosis, you and your malpractice lawyer will have to prove that malpractice happened – that a healthcare provider was negligent by failing to deliver an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, misdiagnosis may be difficult to prove, because in its early stages, kidney disease symptoms are subtle. Under the law, however, medical malpractice occurs when a doctor overlooks indications of kidney disease that other doctors – with the same data – would have understood and acted upon.
If you or someone you love is or has been the victim of a kidney disease misdiagnosis, an improper treatment, or has been injured in any way by a healthcare provider as a consequence of suffering kidney disease, you have the legal right to full compensation for the injury you’ve suffered, but that compensation doesn’t simply show up in your mail. You’ll need the advice and representation that only a medical malpractice attorney who works strictly with kidney disease patients can offer you.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney will review all of the details, records, and facts in your case, question any witnesses, and will work with medical authorities and other experts to develop evidence and build a case on your behalf. However, it’s important to make the call and put a good attorney on the case right away. In every state, the statute of limitations restricts the amount of time you have to file a medical malpractice claim, and if you don’t act promptly, you might lose your right to take legal action. It doesn’t matter where you live – you can make the call right now. Put your case in the hands of an experienced medical malpractice attorney at once if you believe that you are a victim of medical malpractice linked to kidney disease.