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Medical Mistakes Continue to Increase

In late 2013, a new study revealed the rate of medical mistakes in the United States continues to increase — with devastating results. 

The new study updates a 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called To Err is Human. That seminal report discussed a healthcare system at war with itself. Through preventable medical error, injury and death is inflicted on patients seeking help. According to the report, approximately 98,000 people die each year in this country because of medical mistakes that include: 

  • Mistaken diagnosis or delay in diagnosis
  • Failure to order appropriate tests and failure to act on results of tests
  • Error in treatment, including performance of an operation, procedure or test
  • Delay in treatment
  • Mistake in prescribing or dispensing medication
  • Failure to treat or follow up on treatment
  • Failures in communication and equipment 

Though the report was released 15 years ago, the same mistakes continue to occur. The Journal of Patient Safety published a study using a newly developed modeling tool that estimates the current number of people harmed by medical error in the United States is between 200,000 and 400,000 per year. 

Dr. Lucian Leape, an author of the original IOM study, supported the results reached by John T. James, who analyzed adverse medical events between 2002 and 2008. 

These figures point to medical error as the third-leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer. The need to assess and prevent medical error in the healthcare industry is critical. 

If you or a loved one suffers loss because of a medical error or medication mistake in southern Maryland, seek experienced legal advice.

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