surgicaltools300A new study performed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published this week in The BMJ establishes medical error as the third leading cause of death in the United States right behind heart disease and cancer.

The study’s authors, Martin Makary, MD, MPH, professor of surgery,  and research fellow Michael Daniel, make the arguments that significantly more resources need to be dedicated to the study and prevention of medical errors and information about such errors needs to be captured on death certificates. According to an article published by MedScape, the authors also believe “that most errors aren’t caused by bad doctors but by systemic failures and should not be addressed with punishment or legal action.”

VIDEO: Watch the PBS News Hour interview with Dr. Martin Makary.

Following the study’s release this week, news stories on the topic flooded the mainstream media gaining national and international attention. A sampling of the stories published is listed below.

Is fatal medical error a leading cause of death? PBS News Hour
Second study says medical errors third-leading cause of death in U.S. – USA Today
Medical errors now the third-leading cause of death in the US – stuff.co.nz
Death by Doctor: Medical Error Is Killing Hundreds of Thousands Each Year – The Fiscal Times
Medical Errors May Result in More Than 200,000 Deaths, Study Finds – ABC News
Medical Error Is Third Leading Cause of Death in US – Medscape
Medical errors killing Americans at a surprising rate – CBS News
Medical error is third biggest cause of death in the US, experts say – The Guardian – US edition
Medical Errors Are the Third Leading Cause of Death: Study – TIME
Medical Errors May Cause Over 250,000 Deaths a Year – The New York Times


 INFOGRAPHIC

CauseOfDeath.Infographic