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Hero pilot works to raise awareness of medical malpractice deaths

In 2009, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger landed a plane on the Hudson River in an emergency after birds destroyed both engines on a commercial airplane. After the crash landing, the pilot told his story about the emergency. Now, he is travelling the country to discuss an issue separate from aviation safety.

Sullenberger wants to raise awareness of medical mistakes and the number of wrongful deaths these errors cause. According to a report, some estimates suggest there are nearly 200,000 deaths a year from medical errors. These are all preventable deaths. Sullenberger hopes to influence policymakers and medical professionals in hopes of improving safety technology and procedures when physicians operate on patients.

So, why would a pilot care about medical malpractice? Sullenberger says he is alarmed by the number of deaths, and believes that if the same number of people died in plane crashes each year, there would be an immediate stop to air travel.

While patients can take steps to try to prevent medical mistakes, doctors and policymakers can implement changes to procedures and regulations that might be able to greatly reduce the number of wrongful deaths from medical mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are caused by miscommunication, not taking proper medical histories, or performing the wrong procedure.

These mistakes can result in serious injuries to some people, or wrongful death. It might be wise for family members of victims to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help the family understand their rights and work to seek compensation.


Politico, "'Miracle' pilot on mission against medical errors," Kyle Cheney, Aug. 1, 2013

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