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Medical Error Third Leading Cause of Death in the US

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Santa Clara, CAThe third leading cause of death in the US, after heart disease and cancer, is medical error, according to a study just published in the British Medical Journal. The finding is based on data from four studies that assessed medical death rates between 2000-2008.

Using hospital admission rates from 2013, the researchers then extrapolated that, based on 35,416,020 hospitalizations, 251,454 deaths stemmed from a medical error, which translates to 9.5% of all deaths each year in the US, ahead of the previous third-leading cause of death, respiratory disease.

Authors Martin Makary, MD, MPH, professor of surgery, and research fellow Michael Daniel, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, note that based on these findings, medical errors should be a top priority for research and resources.

However, obtaining accurate, transparent information about errors is not currently captured on death certificates, which are the documents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use for ranking causes of death and setting health priorities.

The authors are calling for improved reporting to help accurately identify the scale of the problem and to create strategies for reducing it.

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Medical errors should be a top priority. Inaccurate information is one piece of the puzzle, the other piece is the fact that much of this information is considered self-reported , where now you give hospitals the option not to report. Errors on death certificates are falsified on a daily basis and not because of an error but for a blatant disregard of the truth. Writing the causes of deaths are not being accurately correlated with the mechanisms that caused the death. National Medical Malpractice Advocacy Association has received many calls and complaints about medical records, death certificates being falsified. Reason-to protect the hospitals or physicians who call in a favor.

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