Medical error: The third leading cause of death?

IF medical error were considered a disease, it would kill more Americans each year than every other disease except cancer and heart disease, a study asserts.

Researchers in the US looked at research dating back to 1999 and calculated a yearly estimate of 251,454 preventable deaths caused by any health care intervention.

The number is likely an underestimate, the authors say, because the studies they looked at rely only on those errors that can be extracted from documented health records and include only inpatient deaths.