A report by Hearst newspapers based upon their research finds that there are at least about 200,000 death in America each year from preventable medical errors. The report finds that this number is probable a very low estimate. he numbers make death by medical mistake the leading cause of accidental death in the country. Not a great recommendation to see your doctor
And the problem appears to be getting worse, not better.
The report follows by ten years a federal report “To Err is Human” found shockingly high numbers of medically caused death and set a goal of reducing the number of death by half. Not only has the goal not been met but, according to the new research, the problem is worsening.
Mistakes and Preventable Infections
Researchers estimate that about 98,000 people die from preventable medical errors each year, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that another 99,000 patients a year die from preventable infections they get in hospitals.
Don’t drink the water, don’t go to a doctor, and don’t go to a hospital.
While these staggering numbers are mind blowing enough, they are most likely a very low estimate. While there are many reasons why this is true, such as out right fraud in reporting, a question of CYA in the medical industry, but the main reason is a state-by-state patchwork of reporting requirements on medical mistakes.
Whose Counting Anyway
According to the Hearst report, only 20 states have any reporting requirement at all, and just five rquire reporting of where the mistakes occured. Consumers are simply left in the dark on the size of the problem, and who are the worst offenders.
Yet the Heast report found that even where there was a reporting requirement, reporting was unregulated, at times ignored, and there are no general reporting standards.
It is a secret the medical industry would rather keep hidden. It is a case of Physician Heal Thyself of Hypocricy, for past attemps by the federal governmet to address the problem by establish reporting requirements and standards have been strongly opposed by the American Medical Association (AMA) and hospital associations.
As the saying goes, if you can’t trust your doctor to take responsibility ….
One can only wonder what the reaction would be if vitamins, homeopathy, or acupuncture, or chiropractic was killing more than 200,000 people every year. The AMA would be frothing for reporting of these medical professionals.
Better reporting is one of the items in the health care reform being pushed by Obama, and the AMA has given on the issue, now supporting the change after decades of fighting it.
This is good and needed change.
For much more on this issue, and to learn what state require what in the way of reporting, you can go to the Hearst newspaper site on the issue Dead by Mistake at http://www.chron.com/deadbymistake/