A recent study by Johns Hopkins University researchers claims that Medical Errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. People are going to doctors and hospitals in the hopes of protecting their health, yet 251,454 deaths a year can be attributed to preventable medical errors. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) heart disease is the number one cause of death with 614,348 deaths annually, followed by cancer with 591,699 deaths, and in third is chronic lower respiratory disease, listed at 147,101 deaths. The CDC does not include Medical Errors in its current ranking because doctors and hospitals are not required to report their mistakes; in fact there is no current way for a death to be categorized as the ‘result of medical error’. The author of the Johns Hopkins study, Dr. Martin Makary, argues that the CDC and the medical community needs to acknowledge ‘Medical Errors’ as a cause of death and focus on studying how these mistakes are occurring and determining how these errors can be prevented in the future. “It is time for the country to invest in medical quality and patient safety proportional to the mortality burdens it bears”.
Much public attention is given to how medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up the costs of healthcare in America. The Johns Hopkins study’s conclusion that nearly a quarter of a million deaths occur each year due to medical errors should bring an awareness to the public that the medical community needs to be accountable for its mistakes. The medical industry should identify how these mistakes are occurring and dedicate time and funding to taking measures to ensure that patient safety is priority number one.
Brett Oppenheimer is a Kentucky attorney who is committed to making hospitals safer for patients. Health care providers have a legal duty to their patients to provide a standard of care. If you believe you or a loved one was injured in a Kentucky hospital due to medical errors, you are encouraged to consult Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC. Brett handles hospital and doctor medical malpractice cases across Kentucky. Brett can help you with the process of determining the merits of your potential case.