New Estimate of Deaths Due to Hospital Error: Third Leading Cause of Death?

October 2, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Each year, at least 210,000 patients—and possibly more than 400,000—die related to preventable harm in hospitals, reports an article in the September 2013 Journal of Patient Safety. If this estimate is accurate, death due to hospital medical error would be the third leading cause of death in the United States according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes a September 20, 2013, article from FierceHealthcare. The 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System estimated that 98,000 people die due to medical errors in the United States each year. But Lucian Leape, M.D., a member of the committee that wrote the IOM report, stated that the committee knew that the estimate was low. The current estimate is based on four recent studies.

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