When you go to the hospital for treatment in Springfield, Massachusetts, you probably do not even think about the possibility of your doctor making a mistake that could cost you your life. After all, these type of accidents are rare, right?

A new study that was recently released indicates that these type of doctor errors are not as rare as once thought. In fact, researchers estimate that between 210,000 and 440,000 hospital patients die each year from preventable harm.

That number is more than double the estimates reported in 1999. During that year, the Institute of Medicine estimated that up to 98,000 patients in hospitals were victims of medical mistakes that led to their death.

The new study was performed by a NASA toxicologist who looked at four recent studies that researched patients who suffered preventable harm in a hospital setting. Researchers combed through over 4,200 patients’ medical records and extrapolated their results across the millions of patients hospitalized in 2007.

If these numbers are correct, medical mistakes contribute to the third largest cause of death in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer. The man who performed the study believes this is unacceptable and is calling for a national patient bill of rights for people who are hospitalized. He would like to see them become more involved in their care and follow-up.

If you or someone you know has been adversely affected because of a medical mistake, you may be entitled to compensation. You would be well advised to speak with an attorney about your case.

Source: KCUR, “How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?” Sep. 24, 2013