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Holding Doctors Accountable For Medical Errors

Mon, 12/21/2009 - 5:45am
Pauline W. Chen, M.D.

Ten years ago, a national panel of health care experts released a landmark report on medical errors in the American health care system. Published by the Institute of Medicine, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System” estimated that as many as 98,000 people died in hospitals each year as a result of preventable mistakes. Being hospitalized, it turned out, was far riskier than riding a jumbo jet.

While the report offered comprehensive strategies to improve safety, its main conclusion was that medical errors were primarily a result of “faulty systems, processes and conditions that lead people to make mistakes or fail to prevent them.”

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