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How Common Are Medical Mistakes?


Sadly they are much too common.

Exact estimates are difficult if not impossible to calculate because so many errors go unreported intentionally or not.

Nonetheless, bearing in mind that around 2.5 million deaths occur every year in the U.S.A. and around .5 million in the U.K. please see below some of the statistics and death rate estimates from various reports and bear in mind that they are from Western democracies that run a check and then publish their figures!

A phone survey conducted by the 'National Patient Safety Foundation' found that 42% of people believed they had undergone a medical error personally or believe that a relative or friend had been the victim of one.

There are between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths annually that are caused by medical errors (Institute of Medicine).

There are 225,000 deaths annually from medical errors including 106,000 deaths due to "non-error adverse events of medications" (Starfield).

There are 180,000 deaths annually caused by medication errors and adverse reactions (Holland)

There are between 20,000 and 88,000 deaths annually that are caused by nosocomial infections which are infections that were contracted whilst in a hospital or clinic.

There were 7,391 deaths that resulted from medication errors (Institute of Medicine)

2.4 to 3.6 percent of hospital admissions were due to (prescription) medication events (Australian study)

'The Institute of Medicine' (IOM) estimates that hospital deaths due to medical errors are between 44,000 to 98,000 annually which would place medical errors in the top ten causes of death in the USA.

This was part one of a two part article.

How Common Are Medical Mistakes. Part 2