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Study: Hospital errors the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.

According to a new study, more than 1,000 people die every single day due to medical errors. These errors range from sponges being left behind during surgery to the wrong amount of a medication being put in an IV.

Back in 1999 it was reported 98,000 people a year died from hospital errors. Since then though, the estimate has increased with a new study pointing to the fact that as many as 440,000 people die each year due to preventable hospital errors.

The reason for this increase is not necessarily due to more mistakes. Rather, new research techniques have further uncovered some of these medical errors.

Going by these new numbers, this means hospital errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. To be even more specific, according to a recent Forbes article, only cancer and heart disease are more deadly.

After hearing these numbers, one must ask just what the issue is and what hospitals can do to better prevent patient deaths.

According to the same Forbes article, hospital industry leaders will argue preventing hospitals errors is tricky as the hospitals are complex with already sick patients. After all, it is sick people -- not healthy people -- who are being seen at hospitals.

However, part of the issue is also that some hospitals do not make safety a top priority and choose to bypass some of the proven strategies other hospitals are using to prevent errors. According to the Forbes article, this is why some hospitals have higher rates of errors than others.

As patients -- and as a country -- this is where people are encouraged to really push the hospitals to make safety a top priority. The hope is that as more attention is given to the high rate of hospital errors, more is done to prevent these errors from happening in the first place.


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