There are over 250 thousand people that die every year in USA because of medical errors. There are estimates though that put this number as high as 400 thousand. Either of these numbers put medical error on the 3rd place of the list of the most common causes of death in the United States in 2013.Reference

"The most commonly cited estimate of annual deaths from medical error in the US—a 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report7—is limited and outdated. The report describes an incidence of 44 000-98 000 deaths annually.7 (...) 1993, Leape, a chief investigator in the 1984 Harvard study, published an article arguing that the study’s estimate was too low, contending that 78% rather than 51% of the 180 000 iatrogenic deaths were preventable).10 This higher incidence (about 140 400 deaths due to error) has been supported by subsequent studies which suggest that the 1999 IOM report underestimates the magnitude of the problem. A 2004 report of inpatient deaths associated with the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research Patient Safety Indicators in the Medicare population estimated that 575 000 deaths were caused by medical error between 2000 and 2002, which is about 195 000 deaths a year (table 1⇓).11 Similarly, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General examining the health records of hospital inpatients in 2008, reported 180 000 deaths due to medical error a year among Medicare beneficiaries alone.12 Using similar methods, Classen et al described a rate of 1.13%.13 If this rate is applied to all registered US hospital admissions in 201315 it translates to over 400 000 deaths a year, more than four times the IOM estimate. Similarly, Landrigan et al reported that 0.6% of hospital admissions in a group of North Carolina hospitals over six years (2002-07) (...) this would translate into 134 581 inpatient deaths a year from poor inpatient care (...) none of the studies captured deaths outside inpatient care—those resulting from errors in care at home or in nursing homes and in outpatient care such as ambulatory surgery centers. A literature review by James estimated preventable adverse events using a weighted analysis and described an incidence range of 210 000-400 000 deaths a year associated with medical errors among hospital patients.16 We calculated a mean rate of death from medical error of 251 454 a year using the studies reported since the 1999 IOM report and extrapolating to the total number of US hospital admissions in 2013. We believe this understates the true incidence of death due to medical error because the studies cited rely on errors extractable in documented health records and include only inpatient deaths. " From the chart "Fig 1 Most common causes of death in the United States, 2013": 1) Heart disease 611k, 2) Cancer 585 k, 3) Medical error 251k, 4) COPD 149k, 5) Suicide 41k, 6) Firearms 34k, 7) Motor vehicles 34k

Created by: netizer, last updated by: netizer

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