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Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in United States

Many would be shocked to read this statistic: approximately 250,000 people die each year as a result of medical errors. According to research led by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor of surgery Martin Makary, preventable medical errors are now ranked as the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer, outranking respiratory disease, accidents, strokes, and Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, more people are dying from the care they receive than the diseases for which they are seeking treatment. Despite these surprising facts, this massive issue with modern healthcare has gone widely unnoticed by the public eye, mainly due to a lack of reporting on the matter.

Frequently occurring medical errors include:

  • Anesthesia errors
  • Delayed, missed, or incorrect diagnosis
  • Prescription drug errors
  • Medical incompetence
  • Hospital-acquired infections
  • Failures in communication

This concern first began making waves within the medical community in 1999 when a report issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called medical errors an “epidemic,” prompting heated debate over what could be done. While this initial report estimated deaths from medical errors totaled as high as 98,000 per year, Professor Makary’s research involves an analysis of four large-scale studies conducted from 2000 to 2008 by organizations such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of the Inspector General. Makary’s report concluded that as many as 251,000 deaths occur from medical errors in the United States annually – equating to nearly 700 deaths per day.

But why do many of these errors slip under the radar? Part of it is due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s lax statistics reporting procedures, as its current system does not require reporting of errors through billing codes. The medical industry has also lacks a standardized set of procedures for care, incident reporting, and accountability when compared to others, such as the Federal Aviation Administration’s highly regulated accident reports that are made widely available to members of the industry.

For more information, check out the original article published in The Washington Post.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Wichita

If you or a loved one have been a victim of a medical error, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages for your suffering by filing a claim against the responsible parties. At Hutton & Hutton Law Firm, LLC, our top-rated Wichita medical malpractice attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions on behalf of victims of medical negligence and can help you seek justice. Having been named in Best Law Firms by U.S. News & World Report and Super Lawyers® for our powerful advocacy, we have what it takes to help you get the results you need.

If we don’t win, you don’t pay – call (316) 313-4730 today.

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