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How many people die because of medical mistakes?

People in Wisconsin might be curious to hear about how many people died because of medical mistakes in United States hospitals each year. However, pinpointing the number of deaths caused by medical errors is difficult. It seems that each time new research regarding the issue is released the numbers get worse.

One of the most widely accepted reports about how many people did because of medical errors is the "To Err Is Human" report that the Institute of Medicine published in 1999. According to the statistics in that report, approximately 98,000 people die each year because of mistakes made in hospitals. The number was initially disputed, but now it has become the generally accepted number by numerous doctors and other healthcare professionals. Perhaps part of the reason why such numbers are troubling is because with deaths caused by medical malpractice comes numerous lawsuits as well.

Research after the "To Err Is Human" report suggested that 180,000 Medicare patients alone died because of bad hospital care in 2010. That research was released by the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services. Now an even more recent study has suggested that anywhere between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die each year after going to the hospital and suffering some type of preventable harm. If these newest findings were accurate, then medical errors would be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease, which is the leading cause, and cancer, which is the second-leading cause.

Medical malpractice attorneys might be able to assist family members whose loved ones died as result of medical errors seek compensation for their loved ones preventable deaths. They could potentially receive reimbursement for their loved ones' medical expenses and burial expenses. Additionally, they could receive compensation for their pain and suffering.

Source: Pro Publica, "How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?", Marshall Allen, September 19, 2013

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