A new Johns Hopkins study shows that the health care professionals we trust to safeguard our lives are actually killing us.
Researchers found that medical errors claim about 251,000 lives every year.1 Only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans.2
Dr. Martin Makary is a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He led the study, which was published in the BMJ.
“It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care,” Dr. Makary said.
Researchers found there are 700 needless deaths a day because of medical mistakes. That is nearly 10% percent of all deaths the United States.3
The yearly death toll of medical errors includes:4
- 106,000 deaths due to negative effects of drugs
- 80,000 deaths due to hospital infections
- 12,000 deaths due to unnecessary surgery
The carnage may be even higher than reported in the study. That’s because, unlike other industries, there is no requirement for health care providers to report deadly medical errors. And they’ve resisted doing so. Doctors and hospitals often claim the information is proprietary.
It’s absurd, says Dr. Makary.
“When a plane crashes, we don’t say this is confidential proprietary information the airline company owns,” he said. “We consider this part of public safety. Hospitals should be held to the same standards.”
A consumer advocacy organization, the Leapfrog Group, produces an annual safety rating for over 2,500 U.S. hospitals.5
They score hospitals from A to F based on safety and patients’ welfare.6
The group says that if hospitals with lower scores improved to the level of A-rated hospitals, about 33,000 lives could be saved each year.7
You can easily check the performance of your nearby hospitals by clicking here.
7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Deadly Medical Mistakes
You can protect yourself and loved ones from common health care errors by taking simple precautions:8
- Infections. Make sure doctors and nurses wash their hands before they touch you. Wearing gloves is not a safe substitute for handwashing.
- Misdiagnoses. An estimated one of 10 medical diagnoses are wrong. If there’s any doubt, get a second opinion.
- Identity. Hospitals sometimes mix up the treatment of people with similar names. Before any hospital procedure, make sure the staff checks your entire name, date of birth, and the bar code on your wrist band.
- IV lines. Bedside tubes can look similar to one another. About 16% of doctors and nurses polled say tube mix-ups happen. The wrong medication goes in the wrong tube. Ask the staff to trace every tube back its point of origin so the right medicine goes in the right tube.
- Overdoses. Hospitals sometimes overdose patients on medicine. Ask for a list of your medications along with the dosages. Check them to make sure they are correct before taking them.
- Blood type. Know your blood type. Before getting a blood transfusion, check the bag to make sure it’s a match.
- Pharmacy mistakes. Each year 30 million prescriptions are dispensed improperly. When you’re at the pharmacy, open the package. Show the medicine to the pharmacist to make sure it’s right. Make sure your name is on the label.
And there’s a big reason mistakes like these—and others—are happening more often. A growing crisis that’s about to become the biggest our country has seen since the Great Depression.
If you’ve spent more than 20 minutes in a doctor’s waiting room recently…
If you’ve paid more—for medicine, tests, procedures, and hospital stays—than ever before…
If your doctor won’t even see you because he stopped taking Medicare, switched to “cash only,” or stopped practicing altogether…
Or if you know someone who’s sick—or even died—because of the medical errors mentioned above…
This crisis is already affecting you. And if you haven’t experienced it yet, you will—guaranteed. It’s hitting seniors especially hard. And, starting January 1, 2017, it’s poised to get worse. Much worse. Discover exactly how, today. And, more important, how to overcome it. Make no mistake, the time to protect yourself is now. Go HERE for everything.
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch