Are Medical Errors Really the Third Leading Cause of Death in the US?

Posted on September 18, 2017 at 12:00pm by
Medical mistakes are responsible for thousands of deaths in the US

Medical mistakes are responsible for thousands of deaths in the USBritish Medical Journal (also called BMJ) released a controversial study last year that estimated medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. According to the study, medical errors may kill 250,000 people in the US each year. Only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans annually.

Authors of the study, including a surgeon at Johns Hopkins, argued that many medical errors go unnoticed because they are not included on patient death certificates. According to the study authors, the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) system that collects data for patient deaths does not include common causes for medical errors. For example, they argued that the CDC’s statistics do not include breakdowns in communication and diagnostic errors. The CDC disputed these claims.

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has posted studies on its website that touch on this subject. According to a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety preventable medical errors kill 440,000 Americans per year. This number is much higher than the estimate published in BMJ’s study.

Patients receiving care in US hospitals can also be catastrophically injured by medical mistakes. Brain injuries impose significant pain and suffering on patients and their families. For instance, a newborn who receives a traumatic brain injury from oxygen deprivation could require extensive resources for life.

How Can a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help Victims of Medical Mistakes?

There are many types of medical errors, some of which are difficult for patients or their families to identify. However, the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Donald G. Targan & Associates have the resources to investigate these errors. Our law firm has handled cases that involve the delayed diagnosis of cancer, misdiagnosis, birth injuries and surgical errors.

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