The Institute of Medicine first reported in 1999 that nearly 100,000 patients die every year due to medical mistakes, and that medical errors caused injuries to an additional 1 million patients every year.

Unfortunately, according to a recent study, not much has changed. The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported on a study of randomly selected hospital admissions in North Carolina (chosen as a site the researchers thought would show improvement because of the state's efforts to promote patient safety). 

Unfortunately the rate of harm to patients remained common - nearly 588 harms of the approximately 2400 medical charts reviewed in the study.  The harms to patients came from a number of causes - procedures, infections, medication errors etc.

Most of the harms to patients were avoidable.  Simply put, medical malpractice occurs when hospitals, doctors and HMOs don't put patient safety first.  Click on this title to read the article.

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