Medical Malpractice Third Leading Cause of Death in US according to BMJ study

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Patient safety researchers have concluded that today, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.

Martin Makary, a surgical professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, led a research team that determined that medical errors, including everything from bad doctors to systemic issues (understaffing, overworking, communication breakdown), claim 251,000 lives per year, which is more than respiratory diseases, accidents, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.

“It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care,” Makary said.

Makary and the study’s co-author Michael Daniel, a colleague of Makary’s from Johns Hopkins, used data from the Institute of Medicine, the Health and Human Service’s Office of the Inspector General, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to assemble the numbers they presented in BMJ this week. Their goal, says Makary, was to shed light on and encourage conversation about a topic that insiders and the public are aware of but not highly informed on. Even healthcare governing bodies remain less than fully informed as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not collect data on death caused by medical errors.

Makary believes that it is the CDC’s responsibility to update its reporting requirements in order to face this growing problem head on.

US death causes

Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorneys

At Messa & Associates, we are committed to improving patient safety. Virtually every day, we console clients whose lives have been irreparably changed because hospitals and physicians break patient safety rules and deviate from standards of care. We feel the impact that these harms and losses have on victims, their families, and their friends. We remain frustrated by witnessing the number of preventable errors that routinely occur.

The medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced in handling complex medical malpractice cases, including but not limited to MRSA infections, surgical site infections, foreign objects, missed diagnoses, surgical errors, and treatment errors/negligence. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to medical negligence at a hospital, nursing home, or rehab facility, act quickly. Call a medical malpractice attorney from Messa & Associates today, before your rights to legal compensation have expired. Call 877-MessaLaw for a free consultation or submit an inquiry online for a free case evaluation.


Call the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers of Messa & Associates today to discuss your case with a professional who has the knowledge to answer your questions or submit a free online inquiry.

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