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Medical malpractice: The 3rd leading cause of death

As a patient, you want to be in a safe environment when you're sick or need medical assistance. You don't think that going to a hospital is going to wind up hurting you or even resulting in your death because of errors. Sadly, medical errors are a major concern in the United States.

Around 700 deaths per day can be attributed to medical malpractice, according to a report in the Washington Post. The post states that around 251,000 lives are taken every year due to mistakes made by doctors or others in the medical community. That's more than strokes, Alzheimer's disease, accidents and respiratory diseases.

What are the issues that lead to so many deaths? They can range from doctors who aren't trained well to communication breakdowns and prescription errors. Instead of dying from a disease or living with a painful or troubling condition, medical malpractice is leading to deaths that should otherwise be avoidable in many cases.

There are only two medical conditions that lead to more deaths in the United States each year. These include heart disease and cancer. This indicates a very serious problem; should errors be putting that many people at risk? The answer is easily no, but they're still happening at an alarming rate.

There are safety procedures in place, but harm is still caused due to mistakes. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't require the reporting of errors in data when it comes to patient deaths, either, so that makes the data collected only relatively accurate. Without data on how many deaths are caused by medical mistakes, there's no way to know just how large the problem really is.

Source: The Legal Examiner, "700 deaths per day: medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the US," Wayne Parsons, May 03, 2016

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