Medical mistakes in hospitals cause 98,000 deaths or serious injuries each year in the United States, according to the Institute of Medicine’s 2001 To Err is Human report. This makes medical errors the 8th leading cause of death in the US — killing more people than breast cancer, motor vehicle collisions, or AIDS. And this huge number of deaths includes only those caused in hospitals, not what is done elsewhere in the medical system.
Organized medicine is working on many fronts to eliminate these errors. In the meantime, you can reduce the risk of errors harming your child by educating yourself about your child’s medical conditions. Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to insist on answers that satisfy you.