How Many Animals are Dying Each Year Due to Medical Errors?

January 29, 2018

While we don't yet have data on how many animals are dying as a result of veterinary medical errors every year, Linda Fineman, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), director of veterinary talent and knowledge strategy at Ethos Veterinary Health, says we can look to human medicine for help.

While we don't yet have data on how many animals are dying as a result of veterinary medical errors every year, Linda Fineman, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), director of veterinary talent and knowledge strategy at Ethos Veterinary Health, says we can look to human medicine for help.

In the United States, about 250,000 people are dying each year due to medical errors and 1.5 million prescription errors are also occurring. These numbers continue to climb, which shows how important it is to be cognizant of the risks associated with medical errors.

What is now happening in human medicine—which Dr. Fineman would like to see happen in veterinary medicine—is the development of a culture where doctors talk openly about errors. We are going to make errors, Dr. Fineman says, and the best way to reduce the risk of these errors is to actually talk about them when they happen so we can identify risk factors and make changes.