The Real Cost of Medical Errors

Medical malpractice studies reveal that we have an urgent patient safety problem in this country. Recent data compiled by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services published these figures just last month:

“Of the nearly 1 million Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospitals in October 2008, about 1 in 7 experienced an adverse event that met at least 1 of our criteria (13.5 percent). This rate projects to an estimated 134,000 Medicare beneficiaries experiencing at least 1 adverse event in hospitals during the 1-month study period. An estimated 1.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced an event that contributed to their deaths, which projects to 15,000 patients in a single month.”

These are alarming numbers and should give pause to all of us. There is a real and mounting healthcare safety crisis in this country.