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Medical errors pose a threat for American patients

While many people in New Jersey and across the county identify health care as a major political issue, the consequences of medical errors have largely been kept outside of the public debate. Across the country, medical mistakes are the third most common cause of death, a figure that first drew attention in 2000. The Institute of Medicine issued a report noting that over 100,000 Americans may lose their lives each year due to preventable errors. As health care technology has improved, the mistakes have continued, and some estimate that even more people may be at risk in the present from these types of issues.

Reports indicate that over 500 people die each day as a result of medical mistakes. Health care professionals themselves have indicated a high level of concern about safety issues. In one study, 35 percent rated their own workplace unfavorably for patient well-being. Some of the most common types of medical errors involve medication mistakes, from diagnostic errors to prescription problems. Around 4 million people each year suffer some form of significant harm due to a mistaken medication. Psychiatric patients may be particularly vulnerable to medication errors accompanied by other kinds of abuse.

There are a number of initiatives to improve health care safety, including technological solutions as well as awareness campaigns. Researchers are looking for ways to improve hygiene by making hand washing and other sanitation solutions a natural part of a clinical environment. Another system aims to measure errors as they happen in order to make sure that they are corrected as soon as possible in order to minimize harm.

When patients visit the doctor or go to the hospital, they expect to receive help, not suffer further due to medical negligence or mistakes. A medical malpractice lawyer could help a victim seek compensation for damages.

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