In 1999, a study was published, stating that “medical errors”, cause an estimated 100,000 unnecessary deaths in the US – EVERY YEAR! However, a new, more sophisticated study is being published by Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery and health policy at John Hopkins School of Medicine, stating that the actual deaths cause by medical errors, is really much, much higher. Dr. Makary and his team, conservatively estimate that more than 251,000 people die each year from medial errors, making medical errors, the third leading cause of death in the US, only behind heart disease and cancer. But the study goes on to state that in actuality, because medical errors are not listed on death certificates, the team believes that the actual deaths, caused by medial errors for heart disease and cancer, would significantly add to the 251,000 number. Medical errors are defined as, “a misdiagnosis, surgical complications that go unrecognized, to mix-ups with the doses or types of medications patients receive”. So the take home message for all patients? All patients and their families need to be very diligent when it comes to the care that is being given, to assure that mistakes are minimized or if possible, eliminated, in order to protect the patient.

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