Experts at Johns Hopkins University Medical School have found that medical mistakes, whether from surgical or anesthesia errors, are the no. 3 cause of death in the United States following cancer and heart disease. Two physicians, Dr. Martin Makary and Dr. Michael Daniel, pose the notion that the only way to solve this problem is to start counting such deaths, which these doctors estimate number 250,000 annually!
Medical errors are not listed on death certificates or counted in rankings of the causes of death. One of the major limitations of a death certificate is that it assigns an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code to the cause of death. Thus, any cause of death not associated with an ICD code, such as human and system error, is not recorded.
The study uses data for the time period 2000 to 2008, collected from Health and Human Services Departments, as well as from the Office of the Inspector General and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The study analyzes various categories of treatment ranging from “bad doctoring” to systemic errors. In the past, hospitals and health-care facilities have tried to keep information related to medical mistakes confidential, arguing that it is privileged information.
However, Makary and Michael argue that if it is improper for other industries, such as the airline industry, to make this argument, it should also be improper for hospitals and health-care facilities. Dr. Makary stated, “We have not as a country recognized the endemic problem of people dying from care that they receive rather than the illness or injury for which they seek care.” In the present, we are better equipped to determine how communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment, and inadequate skill can directly result in patient harm and death.
If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury as a result of an accident or incident of medical malpractice, including medical error, contact Powell Law at call (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.