“A 747 Jetliner Every Day”

“If a 747 jetliner crashed every day, killing all 500 people aboard, there would be a national uproar over aviation safety and an all-out mobilization to fix the problem.” However, “in the nation’s
hospitals…about the same number of people die on average every day from medical ‘adverse events,’ many of them preventable errors, such as infections or incorrect medications. Where’s the outrage?” USA TODAY Editorial 11/19/10

In November 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a study that covered just the 15 percent of the U.S. population enrolled in Medicare. It found that each month one out of seven Medicare hospital patients is injured—and an estimated 15,000 are
killed—by harmful medical practice. Treating the consequences of medical errors cost Medicare a full $324 million in October 2008 alone, or 3.5 percent of all Medicare expenditures for inpatient care. Another recent study looked at the incidence of avoidable medical errors across the entire population and concluded that they affected 1.5 million people and cost the U.S. economy $19.5 billion in 2008. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that almost 100,000 Americans now die from hospital-acquired infections alone, and that most of these are preventable. Washington Monthly – March, 2011