The number of deaths related to patient-safety lapses is about double the 98,000 per year cited in a landmark Institute of Medicine report, and a big part of the difference can be attributed to two areas of patient-safety problems not evaluated in earlier studies, according to a report. Extrapolating from a study of 37 million Medicare patient records, researchers determined that about 195,000 patients die annually in the U.S. because of preventable errors in 16 categories of patient-safety incidents. Of the 16 categories of patient-safety incidents, just two -- failure to diagnose and treat a serious medical problem in time, and unexpected death in a low-risk hospitalization -- accounted for nearly 75% of deaths in the Medicare study, according to Health Grades, a Lakewood, Colo.-based healthcare quality rating and advisory services company. Neither category was included in the analysis in the 1999 IOM report, To Err is Human, according to Health Grades. Read the Health Grades report. -- by John Morrissey
Patient-safety lapses more deadly than thought
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