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Medical error: creeping from words to action

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 03 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:0

Ten years ago a BMJ editorial argued that Britain needed a large study of the prevalence of medical error (29 September 1990, p 621). The editorial followed the publication of a study of more than 30 000 records of admissions to New York hospitals. It found that almost 4% of admissions were associated with an error and that 14% of patients who experienced an error died in part because of the error. The BMJ calculated that if the same error rate applied in British hospitals then 300 000 patients each year experienced an error …

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