Medical errors estimated to be third leading cause of U.S. deaths - Chicago Tribune
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, a new study contends.
Johns Hopkins University researchers analyzed several years of U.S. data and concluded that more than 250,000 people died each year due to medical errors.
If confirmed, that would make medical errors the third leading cause of death among Americans. Currently, respiratory disease, which kills about 150,000 people a year, is listed as the third leading cause of death by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, “incidence rates for deaths directly attributable to medical care gone awry haven’t been recognized in any standardized method for collecting national statistics,” said Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at Baltimore-based Hopkins.
The CDC’s data collection method does not classify medical errors separately on a death certificate, according to the study authors, who called for changes to that criteria.
“The medical coding system was designed to maximize billing for physician services, not to collect national health statistics, as it is currently being used,” Makary explained in a university news release.