August 4, 2016
(The Conversation) – A report published in May from researchers at Johns Hopkins claims that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind only heart disease and cancer. According to the researchers, medical errors account for 251,454 U.S. deaths each year – and they regard this figure as an underestimate. That’s the sort of finding that makes headlines. Indeed, you might have read about this report in the newspaper or even seen it reported on the evening news. But as we’ll argue, the methods the researchers used to draw this conclusion are flawed, and that means that the conclusion that medical error is the third leading cause of death is highly questionable.
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