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Ebola-Free Hospitals Are Killers

Posted on October 6, 2014

A 2013 review of studies in the Journal of Patient Safety suggested medical errors cause somewhere between 210,000 and 400,000 deaths each year in the U.S. In a landmark report (PDF) 15 years ago, the Institute of Medicine put the number between 44,000 and 98,000. Even the lower estimate would mean medical errors kill more Americans than car accidents do.

The moment when one clinician turns over care of a patient to another is particularly hazardous, says Marty Makary, a Johns Hopkins surgeon who has written on hospital safety. “The most dangerous procedure in American emergency rooms is a patient handoff,” Makary says. Breakdowns in communication during patient handoffs “are endemic in American health care,” he says.

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3 thoughts on “Ebola-Free Hospitals Are Killers

  1. "medical errors cause somewhere between 210,000 and 400,000 deaths each year in the U.S."

    I have known this fact for a long time, and this is why I don't get caught up in hysteria about AIDS, Ebola, or terrorism. I know when I am in serious danger, and that is when I am in a hospital to begin with…

    So when Ebola starts killing 100,000+ people in the USA every year, then I will consider that a threat.

  2. rev. dave says:

    About two years – maybe 3? – ago, I heard on NPR about a study by (as I recall) the Kellog Institute that identified up to a million deaths a year due to 'medical errors'. That was defined as errors, but also included things like adverse reactions to drugs or mistaken diagnoses. So I don't go to a doctor very often at all, knowing that 99% of Americans die under a doctor's care. I vote with Baron Von Munchausen – NO Doctors!!

  3. Ebola is a virus belonging to the family Filoviridae, which includes viruses filamentous appearance characteristic. It belongs to the order Mononegavirales, gathering the single stranded RNA virus genome linear non-segmented negative polarity. This is a virus of the group V of the Baltimore classification.