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Medical Errors Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S., Says New Study

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According to a Johns Hopkins University study recently published in the BMJ, medical mistakes are now considered the third leading cause of death among adults in the United States behind only heart disease and cancer. Through analysis of prior research, researchers found that more than 250,000 Americans die from medical errors each year. The study authors claim that the way the CDC keeps track of mortality data is a huge factor behind why this widespread problem is so underreported. These shortcomings in tracking are keeping the issue largely out of the public eye and hindering research that would lead to much needed resources to improve patient safety.

The CDC’s current protocol involves only counting a person’s underlying cause of death, even if the condition ultimately wasn’t fatal. Thus, the exact number of yearly deaths caused by medical errors can only be estimated and is likely much higher than the figure determined by the study authors. The CDC currently does not believe there is any compelling reason to deviate from this practice, which is consistent with international guidelines.

The authors of the study admit that the impact of medical errors cannot be fully understood without adequate investment in continuing research and a significant increase in public attention. They are calling for the CDC to add medical errors to its yearly list on the top causes of death in the U.S., as well as for new requirements when filling out death certificates to account for fatal lapses in care.

To learn more about this topic, read an article published by The Washington Post.

Have You Lost a Loved One Due to a Medical Error?

Medical mistakes are a major threat to public health, yet remain vastly underreported.

The following are examples of common medical errors:

If you believe your loved one’s death was caused by a fatal medical error, we invite you to contact Freidin Brown, P.A. to speak with a Florida medical malpractice lawyer. Our team can determine whether you have a viable wrongful death claim and pursue the compensation you deserve for things like hospital bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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