Deaths Attributed to Medical Errors Continue to Grow

In 1998, the Institute of Medicine published a report that showed 98,000 people die each year from medical errors. In 2013, the Journal of Patient Safety reported that number has grown to an estimated 200,000 to 440,000 deaths attributable to preventable medical errors. These deaths aren’t caused by condition which sent them to the hospital in the first place but to medical mistakes that occur once inside the hospital setting. “The incidence of people dying of errors in hospitals is abysmal in this country. It’s really a crisis level problem,” said Leah Binder, the president and CEO of Leapfrog Group, a non-profit watchdog group which rates hospital safety in the US. Yet, there is very little being done to address this growing problem. A requirement in the Affordable Care Act encourages Medicare providers to report medical errors, but it stops short of requiring all health care providers from participating. This is not an effective solution to an epidemic confronting our healthcare system.

Holly Haines