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Hospitals are the battleground for the eternal battle of sickness and health. Some patients recover fully while others aren’t so lucky. While there is a long list of diseases that account for the death of thousands of people in the US every year, the third place in this list has been claimed by something much more terrifying: Medical error.
Martin Makary – who teaches surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – set out, along with his team, to find out the ten leading causes of death in the US. The research team analyzed 8 years of caused-of-death data collected from four different studies that took place between 2000 and 2008. The team then turned their attention to the hospital admission rates and calculated that in 2013 about 251,454 deaths would have been the direct result of medical errors such as administering wrong dose of medication to the patient or complications in surgery.
The team also calculated the deaths that other diseases would have caused and here’s how it turned out:
- Heart disease – 614,348
- Cancer – 591,699
- Medical error – 251,454
- Chronic lower respiratory disease – 147,101
- Accidents – 136,053
- Stroke – 133,103
- Alzheimer’s – 93,541
- Diabetes – 76,488
- Flu/pneumonia – 55,227
- Kidney disease – 48,146
“The lack of standardized method for collection of statistics results in medical errors not being in the list that’s produced by the CDC.” Makary said. He further added, “Medical errors don’t get the attention and the funding that is needed to combat them because they are not even on the list.”
There is no doubting the fact that this study is indeed troubling. Perhaps, what’s even more troubling is the fact that not many studies focus on medical errors as a leading cause of death to begin with. The silver lining is that researches like these will bring medical care gone awry into focus.