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Medical Mistakes Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind lung disease and cancer, according to a new tally of mistakes made in American hospitals. The report estimated medical mistakes cause at least 250,000 deaths per year.

Fatal medical mistakes include issues such as patients dying after being given medicine they are allergic to and patients dying from preventable infections. Faulty computers may also cause some medical fatalities.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not have a good way to track fatalities due to medical error, according to the report. Death certificates feature International Classification of Diseases codes that do not include a notation for death caused by medical error.