In 1984 the Institute of Medicine estimated that up to 98,000 Americans died each year from medical errors. However, updated statistics were published in the Journal of Patient Safety, Sept. 2013 – Vol. IX – Issue 3, which indicates the number is now between 210,000 and 440,000 preventable medical errors that directly contribute to the death of patients.

That makes medical errors the third leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease and cancer. (How Many Die from Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals, Marshall Allen, Pro Publica, Sept. 20, 2013.) Those errors, and deaths, have been estimated by the Institute of Medicine to cost Americans between $17 billion and $29 billion per year.