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Are medical errors really the third-leading cause of death?

Medical errors aren't just little things like forgetting to check on a patient. They can be serious and cause permanent injuries or death. It's vital for nurses, doctors and other medical professionals to be at their best at all times and to make sure they give their full attention to each patient they see.

How common are medical errors in the USA?

Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, according to a study published by researchers working at Johns Hopkins University. The study found that medical errors lead to the deaths of around 250,000 people a year in the United States, a cause of death only overshadowed by cancer or heart disease.

Why isn't there more information on the number of people who pass away due to medical errors?

This public health issue isn't normally addressed because the cause of a person's death is written down as the final cause, not necessarily as being caused by a medical error. For instance, a person suffering cardiac arrest due to a medical mistake may have "cardiac failure" as the cause of death.

What constitutes a medical error?

Medical mistakes range from surgical errors to scheduling mistakes to medication mistakes. After looking at eight years of data, the researchers were able to show that these errors result in around 250,454 deaths a year, many of which are completely preventable.

If you suffer from one of these errors or lose a loved one due to a medical error, you do have the right to look into your legal options.

Source: New York Daily News, "Medical errors third leading cause of death in U.S., says study," Creelabelle Howard, accessed Jan. 31, 2017

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