Though it may not be a pleasant topic to consider, the fact of the matter is that doctors are human and are prone to making mistakes. But just how often do doctors make errors that could lead to fatalities?
The Northwest Public Radio reports that doctors can make mistakes like any other person, and that those mistakes may sometimes be fatal. A study was published by the Institute of Medicine in 1999 stating that up to 98,000 hospital deaths occur because of mistakes made. In 2010, the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services bumped that number up to 180,000. Finally, in the current issue of Journal of Patient Safety, the number has been raised once more to between 210,000 and 440,000 patient deaths that can be contributed to mistakes in hospitals.
This new number might be alarming to you. If it is correct, it means that medical errors are behind only heart disease and cancer in the leading causes of American deaths. While this new number has been disputed by the American Hospital Association, the findings in that study have also been deemed credible by three prominent patient safety researchers. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing a perfectly accurate number. However, more studies are being run in order to uncover possible flaws in the medical system to make it safer for you.
While this may seem discouraging, it simply means that you should take care when selecting your care service provider in order to ensure the lowest change of risk possible.