NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Medical Errors Common, Survey Reveals

May 9, 2001

Physicians, nurses and hospital administrators interviewed in a recent survey painted a depressing picture of medical practice in the U.S. The survey, conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, reaches conclusions similar to warnings on the poor quality of patient care contained in two previous studies.

  • The foundation survey reveals that 95 percent of physicians have witnessed a serious medical error -- and 58 percent of health-care providers say the health system is not very good.
  • Sixty-one percent of providers interviewed say they accept common errors as routine practice.
  • Yet 29 percent say they believe they can provide leadership to change the system.
  • A 1999 Institute of Medicine report concluded that medical errors -- such as giving the wrong medicine -- kill up to 98,000 Americans each year.

A second report released by the Institute in March said the nation's health-care system is not able to provide consistent high-quality care.

Source: Julie Appleby, "Care Providers Slam Health System," USA Today, May 9, 2001.


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