Medical Error: The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US


Tales from the Conspiratum

Medical error is not included on death certificates or in rankings of cause of death. Martin Makary and Michael Daniel assess its contribution to mortality and call for better reporting

This article was originally published in 2016.

Introduction

“2.6 million people die annually in low-and middle-income countries from medical errors, and that most of those deaths are related to misdiagnosis and administration of pharmaceutical products…Medication errors alone cost an estimated $42 billion (US dollars) annually. Unsafe surgical care procedures cause complications in up to 25% of patients resulting in 1 million deaths during or immediately after surgery annually…Four out of every ten patients are harmed during primary and ambulatory health care. The most detrimental errors are related to diagnosis, prescription and the use of medicines.”…

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