If you were put on the spot, and asked what the top three leading causes of death were in the U.S., what would you say? Cancer, right? Check. Every single person on this planet has been touched or affected by cancer. I can name multiple family members and even close friends who have succumbed to this horrible, awful disease. Heart disease? Check. Much like cancer, heart disease has affected untold people. Our eating habits, lack of exercise, and culture undoubtedly play a huge role, but regardless of the cause, we all are way too familiar with heart disease.
But number three? Hmm. Toxin exposure? Drunk drivers? Nope and nope. Medical errors. A recent study performed at Johns Hopkins found that there are upwards of 251,454 deaths in the United States EACH YEAR as a result of medical errors. That is a group of people greater than the population of Little Rock killed by medical errors. EACH YEAR. And the researchers feel that this number is on the very low end of statistical data, given that a large number of errors go unreported. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found in 2008 there were 195,000 deaths by medical error among Medicare patients alone. These include the elderly and disabled, those that we value and want to protect the most. The Johns Hopkins researches urge modification and reform in the way deaths are recorded and reported by requiring all death certificates to have a space to mark that the death was a result of a medical error. It is the researchers' belief that such a change would lead to a staggering number of medical error deaths that they hope would eventually lead to widespread reform in medical care.
An article from CNN is linked below. Please read it and all information to educate yourself about the dangers of medical errors. You and your loved ones could be affected or killed. As you read, ask yourself "How many deaths due to medical errors is an acceptable amount?" And then ask "How many deaths of MY family members is an acceptable amount?" These situations are more widespread than many would like to admit, even to themselves.