Medical Mistakes Result in Death

The number of deaths resulting from medical mistakes in hospitals seems to be constantly rising. In 1999, a report published by the Institute of Medicine reported that close to 98,000 people a year die due to mistakes in the hospital.

In 2010, the speculated number of deaths had risen to 180,000 patients in Medicare alone.

What’s the number today? A student that has been published in the Journal of Patient Safety states that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for some type of preventative care end up suffering harm that contributes to their death. That figure would make medical errors in the hospital the third-leading cause of death.

The study was developed by NASA toxicologist John T. James who runs an advocacy organization called Patient Safety America.

The American Hospital Association said that they have more confidence in the estimated 98,000 deaths reported by the Institute of Medicine. However, three patient safety researchers reviewed James’ study and stated that his methods and figures were credible.

The report prepared by James used four recent studies that identified preventable harm suffered by patients. Using a screening method called the Global Trigger Tool, reviewers searched for signs of infection, injury or error in the medical records. A doctor then reviewed the reports and determined the extent of the harm.

The researchers found that as many as 21-percent of cases reviewed included serious adverse events and 1.4-percent of cases involved lethal adverse events. After going through the findings, James concluded that preventable errors contributed to the deaths of 210,000 patients annually. This figure is considered the baseline as James explains that this does not include errors in which treatment should have been given but was not. The estimate of 440,000 deaths “is roughly one-sixth of all deaths that occur in the United States each year,” James wrote in his study.

Medical Malpractice in Ohio

If you have lost a family member due to a medical error in an Ohio hospital, contact our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers at 800.637.8170. Our attorneys have experience with cases of this nature and can help your family receive the compensation that is deserved. Call today to ask any questions that you may have as well as receive a free case evaluation so you are able to get the claims process started.

 

Charles Boyk
is a personal injury attorney and author practicing law in Ohio. 419-241-1395
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