Medical Errors Continue to Pose a Problem for US Healthcare System

In spite of the fact that the United States spends more money per capita on healthcare, the quality of care remains riddled with adverse events and serious medical errors. Adverse events are defined as injuries caused by medical errors rather than underlying diseases or conditions.
More than a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine found that approximately 98,000 patients die each year in hospitals from preventable medical errors. In 2003, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study by Elizabeth McGlynn and her colleagues that US patients received only 54.9% of the recommended medical care. If that’s not serious enough, the Joint Commission reports that 40 surgeries are performed on the wrong person or the wrong body part every week.
Yet, many still believe that the solution to the healthcare issues burdening the country is tort reform. Of course, tort reform proponents rarely if ever cite these sobering healthcare statistics. What’s needed is a real effort to improve the quality of healthcare in the US.