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Medical errors study fuels med-mal reform debate (access required)

Study: hospital errors 10 times more frequent, often undetected

As lawmakers continue to push a bill that would limit medical malpractice lawsuits, opponents are boosting their criticism of the measure, pointing to a recent study showing that hospital errors occur ten times more frequently than previously thought. "We have always discussed the 98,000 patients who die from medical errors each year," said Sue Steinman, director of Policy at the American Association for Justice, referring to the 1999 estimate by the Institute of Medicine. "This study reinforces the fact that the numbers we have been talking about are in actuality extremely low."

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