A new study casts a harrowing light on the number of people injured and killed each year when healthcare decisions hurt more than heal. From birth errors to delayed diagnosis, the rate of medical mistakes in the United States continues to rise.
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published its seminal report To Err Is Human. That study predicted as many as 98,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors. The report was a wakeup call to healthcare providers and consumers about the danger of medical mistakes in this country.
Despite efforts to monitor medical errors and improve patient safety, the death toll appears to be rising. In a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety, an independent researcher using the modeling method Global Trigger Tool revised the annual number of preventable adverse events (PAEs) significantly upward.
In a review of studies between 2008 and 2011, the study author estimates between 200,000 to 400,000 deaths are the result of medical errors each year. This conclusion is supported by Dr. Lucien Leape, an original author of the Institute of Medicine report.
Points from the recent study include:
- At the higher estimate, death from medical error becomes the third leading cause of death in the United States.
- Types of PAEs include errors of omission, commission, communication, context and diagnostics.
- By these findings, harm to hospitalized patients in this country is epidemic.
Our firm has significant experience working with individuals and families injured by medical malpractice and other injury, such as healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). Significant procedural and policy changes are needed in the treatment, transparency and billing practices for American healthcare.
Potentially 400,000 people per year are dying because of poor medical care in this country. If you are injured, or if you lose a loved one because of a preventable medical error, seek skilled legal counsel in San Diego.