A recent study from John Hopkins University suggests that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. The only two things that cause more deaths per year in the United States are heart disease and all cancers combined. What this means is that 9.5 percent of all deaths in the United States are caused by medical errors.
Consider the implications… Nearly one out of ten people in the United States who died, died because their medical professionals made an error. Why is this acceptable? Why is the cost of medical care so high, if the quality is often so low? What is being done to improve the medical system? How can consumers protect themselves?
In the SoundCloud podcast, one of the authors, Martin Makary, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, discusses how settlements often include gag orders that prohibit discussion of the details of the case. Professor Makary notes that in aviation when there is an airplane crash, the crash is investigated, and the analysis is published so that pilots can learn from the mistakes of others. He goes on to note that this is not the case in medicine, and the same mistakes are made over and over again.
Click here to read the John Hopkins University article on the study.
Click here for the BMJ article and SoundCloud clip.
Click here for the PBS YouTube video featuring Dr. Makary on medical errors.
Click here for Dr. Brian Goldman’s TED Talk: Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?
Click here for Dr. Leana Wen’s TED Talk: What your doctor won’t disclose.