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New Study Suggests Medical Errors are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on May 04, 2016 in Medical Malpractice

doctor medical errorA recent study published in the British Medical Journal has revealed that medical errors at healthcare facilities and hospitals could be considered the third leading cause of death in the United States. These errors lead to approximately 251,000 deaths every year.

The study, published on May 3 and completed by a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is based on an analysis of prior research. Multiple medical error reports have been completed over the years, including the most commonly cited report by the Institute of Medicine in 1999. The study from the IOM however, according to researchers, is limited and outdated in stating that only 99,000 die each year due to medical errors.

Medical errors may include not only bad doctors, but also communication issues between departments. Some of the most common medical errors include:

  • Medication errors
  • Too much or too little blood transfusions
  • Healthcare associated infections
  • Surgical errors
  • Lab errors, such as a wrong diagnosis

The medical error study goes on to note that certain strategies, such as making errors more visible and having remedies readily available, can decrease fatalities.

The biggest hurdle, though, is having doctors reveal that a medical error was the cause of death. Still, collecting data is important in determining how to prevent such errors. All of the researchers of previous medical error studies agree that clarifying how big the problem is could lead to more resources aimed at patient safety. For further information on this topic, click here.

It is important for patients to realize that errors can occur within any medical center, not just at hospitals. Also, know that you have legal rights. If you believe that a medical error led to injury, illness or the death of a loved one, contact the skilled Watertown medical malpractice attorneys at D'Amico & Pettinicchi.

Your initial consultation is free. Call (866) 848-7077 to get started.