Medical errors cause 200K deaths per year, says NY publisher
Publishing corporation investigates frequency of New York medical malpractice and errors.
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A report by New York publisher Hearst Corporation says preventable medical errors, like dosage mistakes and sound-alike medications (i.e., Heparin and Hespan), contribute to some 200,000 malpractice deaths a year. The investigation discovered that 20 states have no system in place for reporting medical errors.
August 10, 2009 – An estimated 200,000 Americans will die this year from preventable medical errors and hospital infections, according to an investigative report by NY publisher Hearst Corporation, titled “Dead by Mistake.”
The report revealed that 20 states have no reporting system in place for medical errors, five have voluntary ones, and five more are developing reporting systems. And in the 20 states that make medical error reporting mandatory, the report found that hospitals report only a tiny percentage of their mistakes, standards vary wildly, and enforcement is often nonexistent.
Medical errors “kill more people each year than car accidents,” said CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. Some of the most common medical errors, she said, include: Wrong-side/wrong part body surgery and medication errors.
“Patients should ask what every single medication is that they're given and remind every medic who approaches them with drugs of the exact allergies they have. Also be aware of dosage mistakes and sound-alike medications (such as Heparin and Hespan),” she said.
Ashton concluded that it’s extremely important to improve patient-doctor communication.
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