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Four hundred thousand people die in America because of preventable medical error

Four hundred thousand people die in America because of preventable medical error. Note the key word in that last sentence: “preventable”. These mistakes don’t need to happen, shouldn’t happen. But they do, over and over again. Avoidable medical error is the third-biggest killer, after cancer and heart disease. It kills way more people than traffic accidents. 

The numbers are equally shocking in the UK, France and beyond. Why is this suffering happening on such a large scale? The answer is simple to state but complex to address: it’s the inability to learn from mistakes. Clinicians spin their errors. They cover up. They use euphemisms to pull the wool over the eyes of grieving families.

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