Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in U.S.

It is common to hear about how smoking-related diseases, cancer and auto accidents are leading causes of death in Washington and the country. However, people may not realize there is another danger lurking that does not receive as much attention, and it’s been a problem for quite some time. The reality, as reported by the Washington Post, is that the third leading cause of death, above accidents, is medical errors. This includes anything from surgical errors to diagnostic mistakes.

The statistics show that many people who are seeking treatment for diseases or conditions are instead dying from the medical care they receive. Each day in the years 2000 to 2008, there were about 700 deaths that could be contributed to medical negligence. This total came in only behind heart disease and cancer. However, there are not proper reporting procedures in place to really gather extensive or accurate information. In addition, individual medical facilities do not often share their records on medical errors with the public. It is possible that these mistakes could result in as many as 98,000 deaths per year.

Forbes reported that medical malpractice suits cost over $3 billion in 2012 alone. Not every death after medical care is due to an error, though. Proving negligence is not always easy. It can be difficult to access the necessary proof unless the doctor is willing to admit to making a mistake or another doctor brings it to the forefront. So, all the information on the number of deaths and the amount of money it has cost may not truly reflect the situation.