A new Johns Hopkins study establishes that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. The study calls on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to include medical errors in its annual list of the top causes of death in the United States.
This is not the first study that establishes the role of medical errors in causing injuries and fatalities across the country, but this study is garnering attention for two reasons. First, it is from a respected institution like Johns Hopkins. Second, the report calls on the US federal government to name medical errors as a leading cause of death in the country. That step would immediately increase awareness about the dangers patients face every year from medical negligence at hospitals and care facilities across the country.
The Johns Hopkins researchers are also calling for changes in the current system for death certification in order to better record medical errors that cause fatalities. The study estimates that there are more than 250,000 fatalities every year from medical errors. That means medical errors rank just below heart disease and cancer as the top causes of fatality in the United States. Medical errors kill more people every year than even respiratory disease.