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According to a report released earlier this week by the Department of Health and Human Services, one out of every seven hospitalized Medicare patients is harmed by some type of medical error.

The report cites a variety of "adverse events" or causes for treatment errors, including excessive bleeding after surgery, urinary tract infections linked to catheters and incorrect medications. Researchers estimate that these types of adverse events contribute to 15,000 deaths per month or 180,000 deaths each year, according to the report. –CNN

Nationwide, more than 198,000 patients die each year as a result of medical errors. This number is appallingly high, as are the costs of these errors, which often require tens of thousands of dollars to correct, if they’re even correctable. Health care legislation needs to begin to address the problem of rampant medical errors proactively and meaningfully, putting federal hospital safety protocols such as physician checklists in place that will protect more patients while lowering costs. Health care providers who commit preventable errors that harm patients also need to be held accountable.

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