Risk of dying in hospital due to medical error one in 300

Medical error risks

08.11.2006


Britain's most senior doctor warned that the risk of dying in hospital as a result of medical error is one in 300. 

Medical errors or Clinical misjudgements mean that the odds of dying in hospital are 33,000 times higher than those of dying in an air crash, according to the chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson. "In an airline industry, the evidence ... from scheduled airlines is the risk of death is one in 10m. If you go into a hospital in the developed world, the risk of death from a medical error is one in 300," he said.

Sir Liam's' warning came as he promoted the next stage of a World Health Organisation campaign to improve patient safety by minimising hospital-acquired infections. Between 5% and 10% of patients admitted to modern hospitals in the developed world acquire one or more infections, with at least 5,000 deaths directly attributed to healthcare-acquired infections in England each year.

In 2004 1,300 people died of the bug Clostridium difficile and 360 of MRSA after attending hospital in England alone.

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