Medical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the United States, a new review suggests. But you wouldn't realize that fact by looking at the latest U.S. mortality statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the researchers for the new study said.
The review showed that about 251,000 deaths in 2013 stemmed from medical errors, placing this cause third behind heart disease (with about 611,000 deaths) and cancer (with 584,000 deaths). The next most common cause of death after medical errors was chronic lower respiratory infection, which accounted for nearly 150,000 deaths that year, the researchers found.
But because of how deaths are currently reported in the U.S., medical errors are rarely listed as the cause of death, said the review, published today (May 3) in the journal BMJ.
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