In 2006, a study showed that at least 1.5 million people are affected by medication errors every year. This includes approximately 400,000 drug related injuries in hospital settings, about 800,000 in long term care facilities, and around 530,000 in outpatient care settings. It is also approximated that $887 million in extra medical costs is incurred every year because of these injuries. This same report, however, stated that the estimates were probably fairly conservative.
Unfortunately, these medication errors are only a part of all medical malpractice incidences. While medication errors are one of the most common forms of negligence associated with medical malpractice, there are certainly many other types as well. This means that the 1.5 million people affected by medication errors every year are only a fraction of the total number of people affected by health care providers’ negligence. Similarly, the $887 million in extra medical costs is only a portion of the total extra medical costs caused by medical malpractice.
While not all of these mistakes are life threatening, a great deal of them are. Taking the chance that you will not be affected by a medical error or other kind of medical malpractice is a bad idea. Your safety should not rely on chance.