Medical Errors Cost $19.5 Billion

According to the Society of Actuaries, medical errors cost the United States $19.5 billion in 2008. The number may be higher now. If one considers that these errors are avoidable medical errors and those that are actually reported, the number is staggering. The costs include lost productivity, costs associated with an increased mortality rate, and medical costs associated with fixing the errors.

According to the study as reported by the Wall St. Journal, “Bed sores — which are almost always considered to be the result of an error — produced the largest annual error cost, at almost $3.9 billion, followed by post-op infections ($3.7 billion), device complications ($1.1 billion), complications from failed spinal surgery ($1.1 billion) and hemorrhages ($960 million). To come up with those figures, researchers found the total cost of a given type of injury and estimated how often it was caused by an error.”

This data should give pause to those who still think tort reform is the answer to curtailing skyrocketing healthcare costs.