The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that respiratory disease is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, killing almost 150,000 people each year. However, according to a study by patient safety experts at Johns Hopkins, more than 250,000 people die each year because of medical error.
Death Certificate Classifications
A professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine says that there isn’t any “standardized method for collecting national statistics” on medical care that didn’t proceed as it should have. National health statistics are collected from the medical coding system, which was to be used for physician services billing.
The professor also said that the International Classification of Diseases billing codes were adopted in 1949 and have been used to determine the number of patients who died from specific causes. Medical errors, such as diagnostic errors, medical mistakes and more, were not included in the national health statistics at that time. New, updated criteria is needed on classifying deaths on death certificates, according to the Johns Hopkins researchers, so that it is easier to see how many deaths are due to medical errors.
The Researchers’ Data
The researchers first examined four studies that looked at medical death rate data. The death rate data was from 2000 to 2008. Next, 2013 hospital admission rates were used to determine that 251,454 people died due to medical error out of more than 35.4 million hospitalizations. The researchers say that this means that 9.5 percent of deaths each year are due to medical error.
The CDC’s Top 3 Causes of Death
Heart disease and cancer are listed as the number one and number two causes of death in the U.S., respectively. The number of deaths due to medical errors according to the Johns Hopkins study put it between cancer and respiratory disease. The professor said that there is a lack of funding and attention given to medical errors because it isn’t listed in the top causes of death. He also said that more research is needed on how to prevent medical errors in order to address this nationwide problem.
Have You Suffered Because of a Medical Error?
If you have been injured by a medical error or if you have lost a loved one because of a medical error, you do have rights. A civil lawsuit may help you recover compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you learn more.
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