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It is a responsibility of doctors in Columbus to stay updated on trends in medicine. One reason, of course, is that something doesn’t really become a trend unless it is a safer or more effective treatment. Another is that the way courts determine whether something is negligent medical treatment is based on whether the treatment conforms to standard medical care. If the treatment is out of date, it may be considered negligent.

One study that was recently published in the Journal of Patient Safety indicates that the number of patients who die each year from negligent medical care is much higher than previously estimated. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine estimated that approximately 98,000 people died because of medical malpractice each year. That number was later revised upward by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010, yet this new study puts the annual number between 210,000 and 440,000 patients.

There has been some debate over whether this number is accurate. The American Hospital Association believes that the Institute’s figure is a much more reasonable number, but of course a higher number of fatal medical errors is bad press for the Association. In a survey of this most recent study, three independent patient safety researchers found the study to be credible.

If this new study is to be believed, medical malpractice would be the third-leading cause of death in the United States, only behind heart disease and cancer. Unlike heart disease and cancer, however, medical malpractice is caused by someone, and that individual can be held liable under a medical malpractice lawsuit.