While insurance companies have fought for laws to make medical malpractice cases more and more difficult for lawyers to bring to suit, the fact is hundreds of thousands of people are dying from medical mistakes each year and many more are being seriously injured. A recent article entitled, Medical Error May Be Third Leading cause of Death in the U.S., puts the death toll due to avoidable medical errors at 251,454 a year and that does not include deaths that occur in nursing homes and after a patient has been sent home.
The article is based on a study done by two doctors from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Martin Makary and Dr. Michael Daniel, who did the study, are hopeful that their analysis of the real number of patients who die due to medical errors will bring an awareness that will lead to real reform in a health care system they argue is letting patients down.
The yearly death toll due to these mistakes has never been even close to accurate as there is no place to enter this kind of information on a death certificate. Medical records only reflect what a patient died from, but never that it was caused by a medical mistake. So for decades the number of deaths has been climbing unchecked and unaccounted and now stands as the third greatest cause of death behind cancer and heart disease in this country.
Dr. Makary believes that hospitals don’t invest in technology that could prevent errors and make hospitals safer because the hospitals don’t realize how big the problem is and don’t make it a priority.
The alarming numbers that Makary and Daniel were able to uncover should be a wake-up call for hospitals and doctors to make improvements, and for our justice system to give patients back their rights to protect themselves and love ones against a system that in far too many instances has failed them.
You can read more about this study on CNN
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