In May 2016, a study reported in The BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal), a subsidiary of the British Medical Association, argued that medical error was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. The authors contend that there were more than 250,000 deaths due to preventable medical errors in hospitals in 2013. This is a startling figure and somewhat questionable based on the methodology employed. On August 15, 2016, the New York Times reviewed the study reported in The BMJ and concluded that those "researchers looked at studies published since [a similar] 1999 report (which claimed up to 98,000 deaths annually) and extrapolated to 2013."
In 1999 the Institute of Medicine published what became a famous study which concluded that there were up to 98,000 deaths a year in the U.S. due to preventable medical errors. At the time the American Medical Association rushed to rebut this blockbuster study arguing that many of those 98,000 patients were so ill that they could not fairly be compared to the general public. Whatever the true number is--it's too many. If you believe a friend or family member died as a result of a preventable medical error, you should consult an attorney who regularly handles cases of that nature.
Bear in mind that a "preventable medical error" does not equate to "medical malpractice". For more information on medical malpractice lawsuits, click the links below.