A recent Millennium Research Group analysis found that medical errors cause up to 98,000 deaths annually, making them the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S. The findings are described in Medical News Today.
A senior analyst at MRG says that miscommunication, transcription errors and incomplete patient records are often the causes of such mistakes.
According to MRG, this has resulted in increased demands for patient safety improvements. Clearly such improvements are badly needed.
The FDA also has information on the issue of medical errors, including the factors that prevent improvement in the system. One such factor is the culture of secrecy that leads medical personnel to cover up errors rather than admit to them, even when the stakes are extremely high.
For more details, check out the 2000 Report to the President on Medical Error by the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force.