50,000 Lives Saved Since 2010
A new Health and Human Services analysis of up to 33,000 medical records for the years 2011 to 2013 has revealed a marked improvement in hospital patient safety, with an estimated 50,000 fewer hospital-associated deaths over that period, and some 1.3 million fewer harmful hospital-induced problems such as falls, bed sores and adverse medication results, a decrease of 17 percent from 2010. The reduction in adverse drug reactions alone -- fewer overdoses and inappropriate medications -- saved roughly 11,500 lives. Overall, the improvements in hospital safety saved an estimated $12 billion in health care spending. Even so, the Journal of Patient Safety calculates that hospital medical errors remain the third leading cause of death in the U.S., trailing only heart disease and cancer.