Many cite the Institute of Medicine’s estimate that up to 98,000 American die each year from medical errors. However, this estimate is decades old. The Journal of Patient Safety in its September 2013 issue analyzed and presented new evidence – studying the years 2008-2011- that the number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients was estimated at more than 400,000 per year. Serious harm seems to be 10-20 times more common than lethal harm. I cite the abstract’s conclusions herein:
The epidemic of patient harm in hospitals must be taken more seriously if it is to be curtailed. Fully engaging patients and their advocates during hospital care, systematically seeking the patients’ voice in identifying harms, transparent accountability for harm, and intentional correction of root causes of harm will be necessary to accomplish this goal.