As patients in North Carolina know, medical errors are sadly common in hospitals around the country. Researchers conducting studies on medical errors hope to shed light on how many deaths are the result of medical errors every year. Over the years, different methods used to calculate the number of medical errors have resulted in very different estimates.
A report, titled "To Err Is Human," was conducted in 1999 and has been widely quoted as a by the media. The review estimated that up to 98,000 people die of medical error each year. An account published by the Department of Health and Human Services surveyed Medicare patients and reported an estimated 180,000 deaths in 2010. In 2013, a new study claimed over 210,000 patients die from medical error yearly.
The researcher involved in the 2013 study used a screening method known as the Global Trigger Tool, which helped them to examine medical records of approximately 4,200 patients through six years. The report declared that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States every year. While researchers claim that the 2013 study is more accurate than its predecessors are, hospital representatives report the statistics of the 1999 survey is a more likely estimate of deaths resulting from medical error.
Medical errors can result in permanent disability and even death for a patient who trusted their health professional. For people affected by a medical error that resulted in serious injury or death, a skilled attorney may be able to assist them in seeking compensation for this malpractice. A knowledgeable attorney may help examine a patient's records to determine if malpractice occurred in a case.
Source: Ideastream, "How Many Die From Medical Mistakes In U.S. Hospitals?", September 20, 2013