A study by John T. James, Ph.D. published in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of Patient Safety has concluded that between . This would make medical errors the third leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease and cancer.
These numbers are considerably higher than the Institute of Medicine’s estimate based on1984 data that up to 98,000 Americans died each year from medical errors.
No one knows the actual number for sure as there has never been an actual count of how many patients experience preventable harm, and approximations are affected by inaccuracies in medical records and the reluctance of some providers to report mistakes, both of which contribute to the problem.
In Dr. James’ study, he reported that the estimated 440,000 deaths from care in hospitals “is roughly one-sixth of all deaths that occur in the United States each year.”
No matter which number you use, the situation is alarming and needs to be corrected.
If you suspect that you or a loved one experienced an error or negligence in treatment, you may want to consult an attorney experienced in these issues. There may be differing time limitations to file a claim depending on the regulations of the state in which the care occurred, and whether the providers are connected to county, federal or state funding. Therefore, it is best to take quick action in asking for a consultation.