Preventable medical errors have risen to epidemic proportions in the United States. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine estimated that 98,000 people die each year from medical errors. The present estimate is four times greater-440,000. According to the American Association for Justice, “Research has confirmed that 440,000 people die every year because of preventable medical errors. That is equivalent to almost the entire population of Atlanta, Georgia, dying from a medical error each year. Preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States and cost our country tens of billions of dollars a year. Despite this serious epidemic, corporate front groups are working hard in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures throughout the country to limit accountability and access to the civil justice system when patients are harmed or killed by medical negligence.” Without effort and advocacy, these devastating numbers will continue to grow. This is a public safety crisis that demands immediate attention.
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