People die from medical mistakes often enough that it's a problem in the medical system that has to be addressed. Since a report in 1999, the medical community has agreed that somewhere around 98,000 people die because of medical mistakes in hospitals every year. In 2010, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services raised that number and indicated that poor care at hospitals contributed to the deaths of around 180,000 patients on Medicare yearly.
A 2013 report suggests that the number of patients who are killed is much higher, potentially falling between 210,000 and 440,000 patients. Those numbers would mean that medical errors are a third-leading cause of death in the country, falling just short of cancer and heart disease.
What can you do to help yourself and prevent injuries or death as a result of medical errors?
One of the main things you can do is to be persistent about correcting your medical provider. You need to have him or her update your medications if something is no longer in use and you always need to correct anything you see wrong in the system. Ask questions, and know the plan for any treatment you need to receive. If something doesn't feel right and your medical provider isn't helping, seek a second opinion.
It's always a good idea to look up your medical provider ahead of time. Check his or her background for patient complaints, so you know what to expect. If there are many, it might be a good idea to find someone else to perform a surgery or medical treatment that you need for your safety. Our website has more information on medical errors and what you can do if you're hurt or lose a loved one because of them.