Medical errors the nation’s third-most common cause of death

While the top two causes of death in America, which are cancer and heart disease, may not surprise you, the third-most common cause of death for residents of California and the United States may not be what you expect. Currently, the third-most-common cause of death in the nation is medical errors, and these can take on many different harmful forms. At Kampf, Schiavone & Associates, we recognize that, when doctors make mistakes, the repercussions are often gravely serious and even deadly, and we have helped many people who suffered hardship because of a doctor or medical professional’s negligence seek appropriate recourse.

According to CNBC, reports indicate that about 250,000 Americans lose their lives on account of medical mistakes every year, but some believe these figures are drastically below the true number of medical-error-involved deaths. Why? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track causes of death among Americans, but they receive much of their information from coroners, medical examiners and other professionals who rarely list physician mistakes as primary causes of death.

Because coroners and others with similar roles often do not list medical errors as primary causes of death, some believe the true number of Americans who die each year due to medical mistakes is, in fact, closer to 440,000. Just what types of hospital and doctor errors are claiming so many American lives?

Some medical errors are administrative, meaning they arise because someone working in a health care setting, for example, enters information incorrectly into a database or computer system. Others involve medication dosing errors, such as administering too much of a certain substance to a patient, or administering medication meant for one person to a different individual. Surgical errors and complications are also common, and they might involve failing to take precautions to prevent infections or failing to remove sponges and other surgical equipment from a patient’s body, among others. You can find more about medical malpractice on our webpage.

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