Death from medical negligence may be third largest cause of death in US behind heart disease and cancer. That statistic is strongly suggested in a Johns Hopkins study published by the British Medical Journal in 2016. The study, which noted that “death from medical negligence” is rarely listed as the cause of death on death certificates, analyzed medical data concluding that medical error accounted for up to as many as 250,000 deaths in the United States each year.
In 1999, a study published in the Institute of Medicine found that 98,000.00 deaths were associated with medical errors while a 2010 report of the Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services concluded that up to 180,000 deaths per year were associated with medical error in the Medicare system alone. Three years ago, the Journal of Patient Safety published findings that concluded that somewhere between 250,000 and 400,000 deaths were associated with medical error each year. A detailed National Public Radio report provides background on the previous three studies.
Patients and their advocates must be ever vigilant in monitoring the treatment they are receiving as well as the treatment that they feel should be happening but isn’t. Pro-active participation in your medical condition helps keep medical providers paying attention. DO NOT be afraid to ask questions or question treatment plans. You are your best advocate for your health and the health of those you love who are unable to speak for themselves.