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New Study on Preventable Deaths in Hospitals

In 1999, it was estimated that approximately 98,000 deaths per year were due to preventable hospital errors. While this number seemed shocking at the time, a new study published in the Journal of Patient Safety indicates that the real number is much higher than was originally thought — somewhere between 210,000 and 440,000 deaths per year.

The discrepancy between the two statistics has been attributed to the fact that, in 1999, the Institute of Medicine had less concrete information to use when determining how many hospital errors were fatal. Recent advancements in research techniques have made it easier to pinpoint this data and information, revealing that medical errors are currently the third-leading cause of death in the nation, just behind heart disease and cancer.

The most shocking aspect of these numbers is that the deaths are not due to illnesses, injuries or conditions that caused the patients to seek medical care initially. Rather, they’re the result of preventable hospital mishaps, such as infections caused by surgical tools left inside of the patient after an operation, improper medication dosages or infections from contaminated equipment.

It’s worth noting that the American Hospital Association has disputed the numbers, claiming that it has much more confidence in the numbers from 1999. However, three more prominent researchers have investigated the new study and concluded that its research methods were credible and sound.

Preventable hospital deaths are often attributed to medical malpractice, which may be grounds for lawsuit. If you or a loved one has suffered because of medical negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.