Patient safety leader: 59 Texans will die today from medical mistakes


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By Thomas Diller, MD
Executive Director, Institute for Patient Safety

dr-thomas-diller
 
Strong evidence indicates the number of deaths per year due to medical error approaches 251,000, making it the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.

In the Star-Telegram

For more about patient safety from Dr. Diller, please read his column: Medical errors drive up the cost of health care – and they kill people

Based on those figures, roughly 21,600 Texans will die this year due to medical error, compared to about 3,500 deaths from traffic accidents.

That means about 59 Texans will die today from healthcare errors and another 59 will die tomorrow — not from incompetent or uncaring providers but because of complex system failures or occasional, inevitable human errors made by healthcare workers.

I’m proud to lead the state’s only entity devoted full-time to patient safety improvement, located at UNT Health Science Center. At the Institute for Patient Safety, founded in 2016 and funded with the support of the Texas Legislature and state Senator Jane Nelson, we’re confronting these issues directly.

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