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New Study: Over 250,000 Patients Die from Hospital Mistakes Each Year

Posted on in Defective Medical Devices

A new study published in the Journal of Patient Safety has concluded that the number of patients who die from medical mistakes in hospitals is significantly higher than past studies have revealed.

In 1999, a report titled “To Err is Human,” which was published by the Institute of Medicine, put that number at 98,000. At the time the report was published, the medical community balked that number but in time accepted it as factual.

Eleven years later, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released results from a study of how many Medicare patients die each year from medical mistakes in hospitals. Their conclusion was 180,000. Remember – that is the total of only Medicare patients.

This new study puts the total number of patients who die due to preventable medical errors at a whopping 210,000 to 440,000 per year – the third leading cause of death in this country, following heart disease and cancer. According to ProPubilca, these figures were compiled by John T. James, who runs Patient Safety in America. James is also a toxicologist at NASA. He has first-hand experience with this subject, having lost his 19 year-old son from hospital negligence.

ProPublica contacted several experts in the field to get their opinion of the new study estimates. The American Hospital Association felt that the study in 1999 concluding there are 98,000 deaths per year was more accurate than James' study.

The publication also asked three other experts, who they refer to as “prominent patient safety researchers” their opinion. All three felt James' methods and conclusions were both credible.

One of those experts, Dr. Lucian Leape, a Harvard pediatrician who sat on the committee for that 1999 'To Err is Human' report, told ProPubica that the original researchers knew that the estimate of 98,000 was a low one and felt that James study was an accurate one. He also pointed out that as medicine and science become more complex, the incidents of mistakes will increase.

If you've lost a family member due to the negligence of a hospital staff member, contact our Illinois defective medical product law firm today to find out what compensation you may be entitled to receive for your pain and loss.

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