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Study: Medical errors result in patient death

Americans put a great amount of trust in the healthcare system. Nurses, physicians, pharmacists and other medical professionals are some of the most highly regarded occupations in the nation. Despite their extensive training, experience and knowledge, medical professionals are human and can make mistakes. When they make mistakes, however, the results can be disastrous, even deadly.

Medical errors could be their third leading cause of death in the U.S., according to a study conducted at Johns Hopkins and published in BMJ. After evaluating death rate information and other studies, researchers estimated the death toll to be approximately 251,454 every year. Some believe this number to be higher, as some cases of medical negligence go unreported or unfound.

Horrific stories of doctors performing surgical procedures on the wrong patient, or operating on the wrong body part are not unheard of. In fact, a number of medical errors lead to serious patient injury and death in some cases. Types of medical errors include the following:

 

  •          Medical misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose patients.
  •          Inappropriate administration of medication.
  •          Operating on the wrong surgical site.
  •          Leaving objects behind in a surgical site.
  •          Performing a procedure on the wrong patient.

 

In one situation, a patient was not given the right amount of anesthesia and, as a result, woke up during the surgical procedure. The patient’s body remain frozen, however, and they were unable to speak. Nightmares similar to these occur more often than people may think. A number of organizations have developed programs to reduce the number of people who are affected by medical mistakes. 

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