By: Joseph T. Dunn, Esq.
A new study published in the BMJ medical journal on Tuesday shows that “medical errors” in hospitals and health care facilities are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. These errors, according to the new study, account for 251,000 deaths every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s. This number equates to nearly 700 deaths a day, or about 9.5% of all deaths annually in the United States. According to these new figures, medical errors cause less deaths than only heart disease and cancer every year in America.
Co-authored by Drs. Michael Daniel and Martin Makary, both of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, this recent study overlooks the effect medical error has in causing severe patient injuries not including death. Some estimates would put this number at 40 times the death rate. These estimates would mean that over 10 million Americans are severely injured every year – or over 27,000 every day — by medical errors.
For the study, Makary and his colleagues analyzed four separate studies concerning medical rate data from 2000 to 2008, including one by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Based on this data of hospitalization rates, these researchers found that of 35,416,020 hospitalizations every year, 251,454 deaths occurred due to medical error.
Medical errors can include missed diagnoses, diagnostic errors, drug mishaps, unnecessary surgery, failure to consult a specialist when needed, and missing life-threatening conditions, among other errors. Even if the figures put forth by this new study are over-exaggerated, we can all agree that medical error results in death or injury far too often.
If you believe you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of medical error contact GDH Law immediately. One of our attorneys can evaluate your case and investigate whether medical error may have caused your injuries. As always, your evaluation is free and we do not get paid until we win on your behalf.
Contact us at 301-769-6835 or online at gdhlawfirm.com.