According to a study done by the Journal of Patient Safety, as many as 440,000 patients may die each year due to hospital medical errors. If the figure is accurate, it would represent a significant increase when compared to earlier studies. In 1999, a notable study conducted by the Institute of Medicine found that 98,000 people allegedly die each year due to hospital errors.
In 2010, a study concluded that 180,000 people in Medicare alone died from hospital errors. Assuming that the Journal of Patient Safety numbers are verified, it would be the third-leading cause of death in the country. The top two causes of death in America are heart disease and cancer. However, a representative for the American Hospital Association said that the 1999 study was likely the more accurate one.
The current study has been reviewed by three outside groups which all concluded that the methods used to determine the estimate were credible. Despite this, it is ultimately not possible to determine for sure what the exact number is. This is because inaccurate information or incomplete medical records make it possible only to approximate or speculate who may have suffered an adverse event while in the hospital.
Patients who suffer harm due to a hospital error may wish to take legal action against that hospital. It may also be possible to take legal action against the doctor or anyone else who made mistakes while caring for a patient. With the professional assistance of a medical malpractice attorney, it may be possible for a patient or a patient’s family to win compensation for injuries or for wrongful death. Such compensation may be used to cover medical bills or to pay for doctor negligence or negligence on the part of the hospital.