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Deaths from medical errors top 250,000 per year

Though 40 percent of people in Florida and across the nation name health care as one of their top political concerns, accidental patient deaths due to medical errors are often an ignored issue in elections. A study done by John Hopkins Medicine estimates that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 250,000 deaths each year.

Over 18 years ago, the issue drew national attention when the Institute of Medicine released a report that estimated that 100,000 people died each year due to medical errors. New analysis reveals that this number is actually larger, and 10 percent of the people who die in the United States each year die as a result of medical errors. These errors cost healthcare providers $8,000 per each inpatient hospital admission. According to a study published in Health Affairs, 35 percent of nurses don't believe that their workplaces are safe and that not enough has been done to prevent medical errors from occurring. Topping these errors are diagnostic errors, which affect 12 million patients per year; four million of these patients suffer serious harm as a result of a diagnostic error.

New techniques and technology have been developed to address some of these problems. Checklists in operating rooms have lowered the patient death rate in some hospitals, and technology that predicts people who will be at the highest risk of errors in order to prevent them from occurring have been utilized in others. Continued advancements hope to reduce the number of medical errors further.

Medical errors can cause serious harm and make further medical procedures or medications necessary, which may lead to costly medical bills. These medical errors may also result in loss of life. Medical malpractice may have occurred if a doctor or hospital acted negligently when caring for a patient. In this case, a doctor may have misdiagnosed a patient initially without running the proper tests. A lawyer may be able to help a family receive a settlement to compensate for their medical bills and other losses.

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