Medical Errors and Their Societal Cost

It’s been widely reported that in 2008 the United States spent $19.5 billion on medical errors. While the financial number is staggering, an analysis of those numbers gives a good sense of the state of healthcare in this country. $17 billion of the $19.5 billion was directly related to inpatient, outpatient, or prescription medicine errors.

According to CMIO, a health industry publication, “The 10 most common errors were: pressure ulcers; post-op infections; device complications; postlaminectomy syndrome; hemorrhages; infections following an infusion, injection, transfusion or vaccination; pneumothorax; infections from a central venous catheter; other complications of an internal device, implant and graft nature; and ventral hernias. According to the researchers, these 10 errors accounted for 69 percent of the total medical errors.”