econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 06 May 2016

Study Urges CDC To Revise Count Of Deaths From Medical Error

Special Report from ProPublica

-- this post authored by Marshall Allen and Olga Pierce

This story was co-published with NPR's Shots blog.

If not for flawed tracking, medical mistakes would be the third-leading cause of death, researchers at Johns Hopkins say.

A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third-leading cause of death in the United States - and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye.

The authors, led by Johns Hopkins surgeon Dr. Marty Makary, call for changes in death certificates to better tabulate fatal lapses in care. In an open letter, they urge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to immediately add medical errors to its annual list reporting the top causes of death.

Based on an analysis of prior research, the Johns Hopkins study estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. On the CDC's official list, that would rank just behind heart disease and cancer, which each took about 600,000 lives in 2014, and in front of respiratory disease, which caused about 150,000 deaths.

Medical mistakes that can lead to death range from surgical complications that go unrecognized to mix-ups with the doses or types of medications patients receive.

But no one knows the exact toll. In significant part, that's because the coding system used by CDC to record death certificate data doesn't capture things like communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors and poor judgment that cost lives, the study says.

Makary said in an interview:

"You have this over-appreciation and overestimate of things like cardiovascular disease, and a vast under-recognition of the place of medical care as the cause of death. That informs all our national health priorities and our research grants."

The study was published today in The BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal.

Study: Medical Mistakes Are Actually the 3rd Leading Cause of Death

The Centers for Disease Control instruct doctors to list only medical conditions as the underlying cause of death on death certificates, a definition that excludes medical errors. A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins says that if medical errors were accurately documented, they would rank above suicide, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease as a cause of death.

Most common causes of death in the U.S., 2014.

Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch for the CDC, disputed that the agency's coding is the problem. He said complications from medical care are listed on death certificates, and that codes do capture them. The CDC's published mortality statistics, however, count only the "underlying cause of death," defined as the condition that led a person to seek treatment.

As a result, even if a doctor does list medical errors on a death certificate, they are not included in the published totals. Only the underlying condition, such as heart disease or cancer, is counted, even when it isn't fatal.

Anderson said the CDC's approach is consistent with international guidelines, allowing U.S. death statistics to be compared with those of other countries. As such, it would be difficult to change.

Anderson said:

"unless we had a really compelling reason to do so."

The Johns Hopkins' authors said the inability to capture the full impact of medical errors results in a lack of public attention and a failure to invest in research. They called for adding a new question to death certificates specifically asking if a preventable complication of care contributed.

The authors wrote:

"While no method of investigating and documenting preventable harm is perfect. Some form of data collection of death due to medical error is needed to address the problem."

Anderson, however, said it's an "uncomfortable situation" for a doctor to report that a patient died from a medical error. Adding a check box to the death certificate won't solve that problem, he said, and a better strategy is to educate doctors about the importance of reporting errors.

He said:

"This is a public health issue, and they need to report it for the sake of public health."

Dr. Tejal Gandhi, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation, said her organization refers to patient harm as the third-leading cause of death. Better tracking would improve funding and public recognition of the problem, she said:

"If you ask the public about patient safety most people don't really know about it. If you ask them the top causes of death, most people wouldn't say 'preventable harm.'"

Dr. Eric Thomas, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas Houston Medical School whose research was cited in the Institute of Medicine's landmark "To Err is Human" report, said existing estimates aren't precise enough to support immediately listing errors as the third-leading cause of death.

But collecting better cause-of-death data is a good idea, said Thomas, who agreed that medical errors are underreported.

He said:

"If we can clarify for the public and lawmakers how big a problem these errors are. You would hope it would lead to more resources toward patient safety."


Have you or a loved one been harmed during medical care? Join the discussion at ProPublica's Patient Safety Facebook group or fill out our Patient Harm Questionnaire.


>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted. You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.




Econintersect Contributors


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Slow Economic Growth Will Be Around For A Long Time
The Job Guarantee, Wage-Price Inflation And Alternative Solutions: Part 2
News Blog
Most Read Articles Last Week Ending 25 March
Funded By The Crowd
U.S. Top Source Of DDoS Attacks In Q4 2016
How Artificial Intelligence And The Robotic Revolution Will Change The Workplace Of Tomorrow
Amazon's Alexa Is A Fast Learner
What We Read Today 26 March 2017
NASA's Plan To Use A Giant Magnet To Make Mars Habitable
Mexico Faces Cloudy 2017 Outlook, Recent Data Mixed
Money Market Funds And The New SEC Regulation
Life Cycle Hypothesis
How Tight Is The U.S. Labor Market?
Infographic Of The Day: President Trump's Budget Would Make Big Cuts To Agencies Which Focus On Science
Early Headlines: GW Will Increase Rainfall, New Ohio Law Inhibits Wind Farms, Break Up California?, EU C Emissions At 22-Yr Low, Mosul Offensive Suspended, And More
Investing Blog
Market And Sector Analysis 25 March 2017
Earnings: A Lot Less Than Meets The Eye
Opinion Blog
Is The 20th Century Still The 'Hayek Century'?
Yellen's Dangerous Glass-Steagall Repression
Precious Metals Blog
These Gold Stocks Will Produce Much Bigger Gains Than Gold Itself
Live Markets
24Mar2017 Market Close: Trumpcare Collapses But Little Affect On The Markets
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government































 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved