Medical Errors are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

Posted in Medical Malpractice

A Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., has published his research into various categories of treatment of patients in hospitals. These categories ranged from more simplistic “bad doctors” to “more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.”

Dr. Makary explained that “when a plane crashes, we don’t say this is confidential proprietary information the airline company owns… we consider it part of public safety. Hospitals should be held to the same standards.” The study and research was done to illuminate problems which are normally swept under the rug by hospitals and healthcare facilities. Often, these facilities will go out of their way to avoid discussing any issues or risks, and frankly bend over backwards to keep such information confidential, arguing it is “privileged.”

The analysis led by Dr. Makary revealed that “medical errors” in healthcare facilities, including hospitals, are extremely common. According to the doctor, “If medical error was a disease, it would rank as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.”

Dr. Makary and his research team estimated that up to 250,000 lives are lost per year due to medical errors. Their research analyzed data from Health and Human Services Departments, along with data from the Office of the Inspector General and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality spanning from the years 2000 to 2008.

Dr. Makary added, “We have not as a country recognized the endemic problem of people dying from care that they receive rather than the illness or injury for which they seek care.” This is particularly true, as millions of dollars have been poured into research for illnesses such as cancer and heart disease—and rightfully so—but very little has been paid to deaths caused by simple medical errors that could have been avoided altogether.

If you or a loved one have suffered from hospital negligence, it is strongly recommended that you seek experienced counsel immediately.