The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ruled that a nationwide clearinghouse...READ MORE
Medical Errors an Often-Fatal Problem in Nursing Homes, Other Medical Facilities
If the number of deaths due to medical errors in nursing homes, hospitals and other medical facilities were an official statistic, it would be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. each year. According to research performed by doctors at the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, approximately 250,000 people die due to errors in health facilities – more than those who die of stroke, accidents and respiratory disease.
The head of the Johns Hopkins team, Dr. Martin Makary, recently appeared on PBS. He said that while substantial financial resources go into research on problems such as heart disease and cancer, the Centers for Disease Control does not list medical error as an official cause of death statistic. As a result, most people do not recognize just how big of an issue this really is.
Dr. Makary said there are many contributing factors that lead to fatalities caused by medical errors. These include diagnostic mistakes, preventable complications and several others. He noted there are many groups that are working on ways to reduce the problem, but that their work is “vastly underfunded and under-appreciated.”
Reducing Your Risk
Since this category is not officially recognized, it can be extremely difficult to know how to lower your risk for being harmed by a medical error if you ever have to be hospitalized or go into a nursing home. Dr. Makary suggests that people should always have a loved one or family member with them when visiting a doctor’s office or before being admitted to any type of medical facility. He also suggests people always get a second opinion before agreeing to starting a medication or undergoing a surgical procedure.