Research findings released in July are likely to leave the public asking at what point the risks of going to hospital outweigh the medical benefits. It said medication errors harm 1.5 million people and kill several thousand each year in the United States. Previous studies have delivered similar findings, a clue that the cure is still out there, waiting to be found.
The July report, “Preventing Medication Errors,” by the Institute of Medicine was picked up by The New York Times and scores of other news outlets. The alarming news is that drug errors are so widespread hospital patients should expect to suffer one every day they remain hospitalized. The Institute report notes that error rates vary by hospital and most do not lead to injury.
The report is the fourth in a series done by the Institute, the nation’s most respected medical advisory organization, that call attention to the health and financial burdens brought about by medical errors. Its 1999 report, “To Err Is Human,” caused a sensation. It revealed that medical errors of all sorts caused as many as 98,000 deaths a year