Did You Know?
Medical errors are the 6th leading cause of the death in the U.S.
A medical error is a preventable adverse effect of medical care, whether or not it is evident or harmful to the patient. Among the problems that commonly occur during providing health care are adverse drug events and improper transfusions, misdiagnosis, under and over treatment, surgical injuries and wrong-site surgery, suicides, restraint-related injuries or death, falls, burns, pressure ulcers, and mistaken patient identities. High error rates with serious consequences are most likely to occur in intensive care units, operating rooms, and emergency departments. Medical errors are also associated with extremes of age, new procedures, urgency, and the severity of the medical condition being treated.
The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) legendary report in 1999, "To Err is Human," estimated 98,000 iatrogenic deaths making it the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. A later study in 2010 yielded almost twice that many deaths, at 180,000. The most recent study in 2013 suggested the numbers range from 210,000 to 440,000 deaths per year. The latter number would make it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. However, these numbers can only be estimated because medical records are often inaccurate and providers might be reluctant to disclose mistak