Earlier this month Martin Makary and Michael Daniel, two professors from Harvard University, published a report in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) that revealed disturbing statistics about the scale and scope of medical malpractice in the United States.
After analyzing four comprehensive studies, the professors found that up to 251,000 people die each year because of medical mistakes and negligence. Numbers this high are especially worrying because they would place the number of yearly deaths due to medical error above well know causes like Diabetes (76,000) Alzheimer’s (90,000), and Respiratory disease (150,000). What this report indicates is that medical malpractice is a much larger problem than anyone is willing to admit to.
Makary and Daniel hope that their study will shed light on the severity of the medical malpractice problem in the United States. The end goal would be to significantly reduce the number of medical malpractice incidents, but that can’t happen until hospitals and doctors open up more about medical errors.
“Measuring the problem is the absolute first step,” Makary said while calling for hospitals to settle on a standard reporting method instead of each organization choosing which errors to report.
To read about this new study and what it authors think should be done, you can read the full report at the The Washington Post’s website.