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Editorial (Dr SS Agarwal, Dr K K Aggarwal)
7th May 2016
Medical error is the 3rd biggest cause of death in US: BMJ
 
To err is human, for a doctor to apologize is uncommon

Medical error is the 3rd leading cause of death in US after heart disease and cancer, according to findings published in the BMJ.

But accurate, transparent information about errors is not captured on death certificates. 
Death certificates depend on International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes for cause of death, so causes such as human and system errors are not recorded on them. According to WHO 117 countries used ICD system.
The report published in the BMJ examined four studies that analyzed medical death rate data from 2000 to 2008. Then, using hospital admission rates from 2013, they extrapolated that, based on 35,416,020 hospitalizations, 251,454 deaths occurred due to a medical error. This number of deaths translates to 9.5% of all deaths each year in the US, and places medical error above the previous third-leading cause, respiratory disease.

In 2013, 611,105 people died of heart disease, 584,881 died of cancer, and 149,205 died of chronic respiratory disease. The new estimates are considerably higher than those in the 1999 Institute of Medicine report "To Err Is Human." 
The statistics of errors may be more if we include doctors' offices and ambulatory care centers.
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Lybrate Updates
 
A 16-year-old male from Hamirpur asked:
I am suffering from dry cough for the last two weeks and I have chest pain whenever I cough hard. Can you suggest what should be done?
 
Dr. Dharmendra V. Dubey, Pulmonologist, replied:
You might be suffering for infection in your lungs or in the covering around the lungs. Get a complete blood count (cbc) and xray chest (pa)... read more
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IMA to action the World Medical Council’s appeal to raise mass awareness about the Zika Virus
 
New Delhi, May 6, 2016: A plea for information on the Zika virus infection to be disseminated widely has come from the World Medical Association. Physician leaders at the WMA's Council meeting held last week in Buenos Aires called for widespread advice to protect women and men who live in or must travel to Zika-affected areas and who are considering becoming parents. Advice should also be made available for pregnant women who may have been directly exposed to the Zika virus or whose partners live in or have travelled to Zika-affected areas.
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