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Health Care Hides a Massive Number of Avoidable Deaths

Experts estimate that about 98,000 people die from preventable medical errors each year. This calculates to more Americans dying each month of preventable medical injuries than died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In addition, a federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that 99,000 patients a year succumb to hospital-acquired infections. Experts believe that almost all of these deaths are preventable. A huge problem with preventing these deaths is that no definite study has been done to calculate exact numbers. Ten years ago a highly publicized federal report called the death toll shocking and challenged the medical community to cut it in half within the next five years. However, federal analysts believe the rate of medical error is actually increasing. A national investigation by Hearst Newspapers found that the medical community, the federal government and most states have overwhelmingly failed to take the effective steps outlined in the medical malpractice report. Even in states like California, where they have put regulations in place, it appears that hospitals ignore rules without penalty. A study conducted in five states show that only 20 percent of some 1,434 hospitals surveyed are participating in two national safety campaigns. It also showed that a minimum of 16 percent of hospitals had at least one wrongful death from common procedures go awry. Frustrated patient-safety groups say that preventing medical malpractice should be at the forefront of health care. At the center of this would be developing medical design systems that can reduce medical errors and prevent harm from reaching the patient when a medical mistake is made. To read more about the medical malpractice report, please click the link.