The Institute of Medicine famously published a report in 1999 that estimated medical errors were responsible for as many as 98,000 deaths each year in America. This report was viewed with equal parts alarm and skepticism.
However, a new report from Johns Hopkins University, as reported by Bloomberg, claims that medical errors trail only heart disease and cancer among the leading killers in our country, claiming approximately 251,000 victims each year. This report combines data from four separate studies that examined deaths in hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, nursing homes and other healthcare environments. Researchers suggest the estimate may be conservative.
Critics of studies that attempt to measure medical errors point out that “medical error” is not a term with a standard definition. A medical error could include everything from the wrong diagnosis to an administrative error, which could lead to any number of mistakes. Continue reading