Hundreds of thousands die each year from medical mistakes

It is unsettling to think of someone losing their life in Philadelphia because of a mistake made by another human being. Yet according to a new study, this is what happens in hospitals across the United States at an alarming rate.

The study was performed by a toxicologist at NASA who looked at the results of four studies concerned with preventable harm to patients in a hospital setting. Researchers used special tools to examine the studies and extrapolate the results across all the hospitalizations in the United States in a given year. They determined that the number of hospital patients who die each year as a result of harm that could have been prevented is between 210,000 and 440,000. The man who performed the study says that the 210,000 number is the baseline and that the higher estimate is probably more accurate. This is because the tools used to scan the studies and alert researchers of medical errors do not take into account those records that do not show when treatment should have been provided but was not.

This is a significant jump from the last report performed by the Institute of Medicine in 1999. They estimated that 98,000 people die each year in hospitals from medical malpractice mistakes.

Although some hospitals and medical professionals have refuted the new study, it stands to reason that any number of people who die from a medical mistake is too high. It just should not be happening. If you or a family member has been adversely affected by a medical mistake, you may wish to speak with an attorney about proper compensation.

Source: KCUR, “How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?” Sep. 24, 2013



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