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Friday, May 6, 2016

Medical Errors: Now Third Leading Cause of Deaths

Medical Errors Now the Third Leading Cause of Death, New Study Finds

While human error can never be eliminated, better measurement of errors can mitigate the frequency, visibility and consequences of such errors, finds the BMJ study.

Bill Siwicki | May 4, 2016

While accurate data on deaths associated with medical errors is lacking, it is estimated that between 210,000 and 400,000 people in the U.S. die every year because of medical errors, making medical errors the third biggest cause of death in the country after heart disease and cancer, a new study found. While human error can never be completely eliminated, better measurement of medical errors can mitigate the frequency, visibility and consequences of such errors, the study said.
To remedy the problem of human error, hospitals should properly investigate patient deaths for potential contribution of error, and should include additional information on death certificates, according to “Medical error—The third leading cause of death in the U.S.,” a report from research firm The BMJ.


<more at; related articles and links: (Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States. May 3, 2016) and (Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US. Martin A Makary, and Michael Daniel. BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 03 May 2016). [Introduction: Medical error is not included on death certificates or in rankings of cause of death. Martin Makary and Michael Daniel assess its contribution to mortality and call for better reporting. The annual list of the most common causes of death in the United States, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), informs public awareness and national research priorities each year. The list is created using death certificates filled out by physicians, funeral directors, medical examiners, and coroners. However, a major limitation of the death certificate is that it relies on assigning an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code to the cause of death. As a result, causes of death not associated with an ICD code, such as human and system factors, are not captured. The science of safety has matured to describe how communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment, and inadequate skill can directly result in patient harm and death. We analyzed the scientific literature on medical error to identify its contribution to US deaths in relation to causes listed by the CDC.])>

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