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Medical errors third leading cause of death

The health care profession is one of the most trusted industries in New York and across the United States. People depend on their physicians, surgeons, nurses and pharmacists to diagnose their conditions, give them medication and keep them healthy. Although people put their lives in the hands of these educated professionals every day, medical errors are more common than some may think.

A study published in BMJ reported that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine discovered that medical mistakes made by negligent physicians, miscommunication, poor skill and oversight cause more deaths than stroke, accidents, Alzheimer’s and respiratory disease. In fact, mistakes made in hospitals and other health care facilities take 251,000 lives every year. This calculates out to 700 deaths every day.

The information was gathered by researchers, who evaluated death rate data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. They found that during an 8-year-period, 35,416,020 people were hospitalized and 251,454 deaths were caused by medical error and negligence. Researchers are asking for an updated way to classify deaths due to medical errors on death certificates. Currently there are no standardized methods of collecting national statistics related to medical mistakes.

Now that the prevalence of medical errors has been calculated, researchers hope that more can be done to solve the issues related to this negligence and preventable deaths. 

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