Charlie Munger is quoted as saying, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.” I guess Charlie should avoid the hospital given that’s where about 68% of Americans die.
Based on the causes of death listed on death certificates, the top three causes of death are (1) heart disease, (2) cancer, and (3) chronic respiratory disease. But researchers at Johns Hopkins dug further into the data and estimate that another cause of death not reported on death certificates is actually number three: medical errors.
The Johns Hopkins researchers found that about 10% of all deaths are due to mistakes — that’s about 250,000 deaths a year. (But, note that some experts think this estimate is too high and that medical errors account for 2-5% of deaths — which is still a lot.)
“The researchers caution that most medical errors aren’t due to inherently bad doctors, and that reporting these errors shouldn’t be addressed by punishment or legal action. Rather, they say, most errors represent systemic problems, including poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or underuse of safety nets, and other protocols, in addition to unwarranted variation in physician practice patterns that lack accountability.” Source. If there were a system for reporting medical errors, more steps could be taken to reduce their occurrence.