Medical error & death certificates

Writing in ‘the bmj’, Makary & Daniel analyse the contribution of medical error to US deaths.

They argue that when a medical error results in death, both the physiological cause of the death and the related problem with delivery of care should be captured. They say:

“There are several possible strategies to estimate accurate national statistics for death due to medical error. Instead of simply requiring cause of death, death certificates could contain an extra field asking whether a preventable complication stemming from the patient’s medical care contributed to the death.”

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