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Why Isn't There More Outrage About Medical Malpractice Deaths?

The Hearst family of newspapers and television stations has put together, Dead By Mistake, an unprecedented look at medical malpractice deaths. This was a massive project, and there are several aspects that I want to look at over the next few days, but the focus of today is, “Why Aren’t More People Outraged Over Medical Malpractice Deaths?”

The study found that an estimated 98,000 people die from preventable medical errors each year. How many is that? To put it in perspective, the article noted that:

More Americans die each month of preventable medical errors than died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Or, as Dennis Quaid put it, it’s the equivalent of a full 747 crashing every day.

Or, as those of us that are football fans might think of, it’s the equivalent of a full Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium being killed.

And to make it worse, in addition to those 98,000 dead, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that an additional 99,000 people a year die from infections acquired from hospitals. That’s almost 200,000 people a year killed by medical malpractice.

And where is the outrage? Sept. 11 has garnered its deserved media attention. And the airwaves over the last few days have been filled with stories about the small plane/sight-seeing helicopter crash. And I can only imagine the media coverage from some disaster wiping out a full DKR, but no one seems to care about medical malpractice.


I’ve seen these types of numbers before, and I’ve seen the pain endured by parents, children and spouses after a medical error takes a life, and I’ve wondered why no outrage. And I still don’t have an answer for it.

If any of you have an answer or thought on it, I’d love to hear it.

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