Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM
Death certificates should allow “medical error” to be listed as a cause, researchers argue in The BMJ.
Evaluating estimates published over the past decade, the authors figure that there are roughly 250,000 deaths attributable to medical errors in the U.S. each year. That would rank such errors behind heart disease and cancer, but ahead of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as the third most common cause of death in the country.
The authors argue that acknowledging medical errors openly and making them more visible for wider review would create a “culture of learning from our mistakes.”