A new report by Johns Hopkins Medicine in the journal BMJ says that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, even as this statistic is not being accurately reported on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual list of death causes.
The study estimates that in the U.S., over 250,000 people die every year from medical errors. That ranks medical errors below only heart disease and cancer for number of deaths each year. However, since medical errors are often difficult to describe on a death report – especially with complications involving communication breakdown, late diagnosis or other hard-to-track problems – the actual number of deaths due to medical error is usually underreported by the CDC on its list.
The authors of the report call on doctors to report more fully the cause of death and to more accurately disclose the full range of problems that may have contributed to a death.
As stated in an NPR article, “Dr. Tejal Gandhi, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation, said her organization refers to patient harm as the third leading cause of death. Better tracking would improve funding and public recognition of the problem, she said.”
At Hodge & Langley Law Firm, we understand that medical errors can often lead to death, whether they are accurately reported or not. For decades, we have fought for the rights of victims of medical malpractice and wrongful death. If you or a family member has potentially been a victim of medical error that led to injury or death, contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers today.