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The Pop Tort reports today that the insurance industry has finally had to concede a point it has been fighting for some time: medical errors cost the economy and extraordinary amount of money.

Well today, insurance actuaries and insurance industry consulting firm, Milliman, came out with some stunning numbers themselves – especially considering the source. Even they now say “measurable medical errors” cost the economy $19.5 billion in 2008, which they call “staggering.”

According to Pop Tort:

They say more than half the total error costs were the result of “five common errors: Pressure ulcers; Postoperative infections; Mechanical complications of devices, implants, or grafts; Postlaminectomy syndrome; Hemorrhages complicating a procedure."

Of course, this is to say nothing of the human cost and tragedy caused by medical errors. As I’ve pointed out here before, the Institute of Medicine has reported that 98,000 people die each year from medical errors. That’s like two 737 jet planes crashing each day for a year.

Maybe it is time to stop talking about closing the court house door to victims of negligence and start worrying about patient safety. We wouldn’t let two jet planes crash each day without asking the responsible party to stand up and make it right. Why should victims of medical negligence have lesser avenues of recourse?

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