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28 May, 2009

Little progress in US efforts to reduce deadly medical errors

Little progress has been made to reduce deadly medical errors in the U.S. in the past decade despite a call to action in 1999, according to a report by Consumers Union..

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued an alarming report titled "To Err is Human," detailing the toll of preventable medical errors in the U.S; it estimated that up to 98,000 Americans die annually from them.

The report triggered a flurry of activity, including congressional hearings, introduction of legislative bills, and promises of reform. But today, more than 100,000 people a year still die from medical errors, says Lisa McGiffert, campaign director for the Safe Patient Project of Consumers Union and a report co-author. The estimate of 100,000 deaths is drawn from more recent data from the CDC.

"As a country we haven't moved forward as the Institute of Medicine has hoped," McGiffert tells WebMD. ''In 1999, the IOM said we should reduce errors by 50% over five years."

These are the opening paragraphs of a report by Kathleen Doheny of WebMD Health News. For the rest of the report, please go to: Deadly Medical Errors Still Plague U.S.

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