Congressman’s Death Due to Medical Error?

Several news outlets are asking whether Congressman John Murtha’s recent death after gallbladder surgery was caused by a medical error. This morning’s reporter Dr. Davis Liu wrote, “Perhaps Murtha, 77, was one of the unlucky 2 out of 100 to have died from this elective surgery. It is also equally likely that he died of a medical error or omission.”
It’s noteworthy that Liu, a doctor himself, focuses his attention on the problem of preventable medical errors and hospital deaths. Liu opens his article by stating, “With the ongoing debate in Washington about the nature of health care reform, Murtha’s passing shines light on one area that hasn’t had enough scrutiny, how to make our health care system safer. As the American health care system has been labeled by some as the most advanced in the world, others are critical of the fact that so many people die in hospitals annually due to preventable medical errors.”