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Those numbers warrant some further reflection. Although medical errors should concern us all, these statistics are more controversial than you might think.

After the original report, some future colleagues of mine at Indiana University wrote an article in The Journal of the American Medical Association rebutting the numbers being thrown around. First, they pointed out that many of those 98,000 were very sick; they couldn’t be compared with the general public, but needed to be compared with other sick, hospitalized patients.

They focused on the study from which the 98,000 was extrapolated. It involved an observational analysis of 7,743 “high-severity” patients in a New York hospital admissions database, which found that 13.6 percent had died, at least in part, because of an adverse event.

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NY Times: The Upshot

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