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
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