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WHO report sheds light on worldwide medical mistakes

Florida readers might have heard that medical errors kill between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans every year. Now, a new report by the World Health Organization is shedding more light on the global impact of medical mistakes.

According to the WHO report, around 60% of medical error cases worldwide take place in hospital settings, and approximately 40% occur in primary and outpatient settings. Of those cases, up to 80% are likely preventable. The report also discovered that medical mistakes in primary and outpatient settings cause around 7 million hospital admissions among patients from the 36 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which includes the U.S.

In addition, the report found that medical mistakes cause around 2.6 million annual deaths in countries with low and middle incomes. Worldwide, approximately 10% of all patients suffer harm while receiving treatment at a hospital. Almost 50% of those mistakes are considered preventable, and around 30% result in a patient's death. In the U.S., around 5% of all U.S. adult outpatients are the victims of diagnostic errors. In addition, autopsies show that diagnostic mistakes are a factor in 10% of all deaths among U.S. patients. Finally, WHO researchers found that it is cheaper to invest in the prevention of medical errors than it is to pay for the treatment of patient harm. For instance, the U.S. saved $28 billion by implementing safety improvements in Medicare hospitals between 2010 and 2015.

Medical errors can include diagnostic mistakes, wrong-site surgeries, medication mistakes, anesthesia errors and more. Victims of medical mistakes might be able to find relief by contacting an attorney. After reviewing the details of the case, the attorney might recommend filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible doctor or other at-fault parties. This may result in a settlement that covers medical expenses and more.

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