Medical Errors Continue Unabated and Cost US $17 Billion Per Year

VOXXI, a news website, has published an article concerning the continued problem of medical errors and their cost in terms of human lives and financial loss. The website cites a particularly egregious case which was also reported by CNN:
“Take the case of Blake Fought, a young man who died the day he was supposed to be discharged from the hospital. The nurse taking care of him removed a central line chest tube while he was sitting up, packing the hole with gauze. Fought died soon after the medical error, due to air bubbles in his blood stream. Not only should he have been lying down during the line removal, the report from CNN indicates the hole should have been sealed airtight.
“Mistakes are happening every day in every hospital in the country that we’re just not catching,” Dr. Albert Wu, an internist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, told CNN.
Such medical errors cost 250,000 lives each year and the US taxpayer $17 billion each year. The issue has become so widespread many industry experts it will take a comprehensive approach and more than just the federal government to solve it.
The frequency of medication errors and preventable adverse drug events is cause for serious concern,” committee co-chair Linda R. Cronenwett, dean and professor, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, stated in a National Academy of Sciences press release. “We need a comprehensive approach to reducing these errors that involves not just health care organizations and federal agencies, but the industry and consumers as well.”
Medication-related medical errors affect more than 1.5 million people annually, and treating those drug-related injuries alone costs the country approximately $3.5 billion a year, not taking into account lost wages or productivity.”