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.