Just exactly how many people die as a result of mistakes in the hospital? It's a heard figure to put your finger on. It seems to change every year -- and not for the better.
Back in 1999, the non-profit, non-government Institute of Medicine estimated that nearly 100,000 people were dying every year because of preventable errors in hospitals. In 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services pegged the rate due to medical mistakes at 180,000. And last year, a study in the Journal of Patient Safety suggested that the death rate could be as high as 440,000.
Whatever the actual number may be, the one certain conclusion that can be drawn is that it is too high. Remember, these deaths are considered to be the result of preventable adverse events -- mistakes that should never have happened in the first place.