Many things are often talked about as leading causes of injury and death in the United States, from car accidents to cancer. However, according to one doctor, the third leading cause of death is often overlooked, due to the way statistics are collected. That high-ranking cause, he claims, is medical error.

The doctor was so concerned about this that he wrote an open level to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asking them to change their data collection tactics so as not to overlook this issue any longer.

Medical errors can come in many different forms. The man said they could result from a lack of skill or ability, a mistake made when doing a diagnosis, a system defect or an adverse event that was preventable. According to his own claims, over 250,000 people pass away from medical errors of these types every year. That is about 9.7 percent of the deaths in the country as a whole — at least, it was for 2013, when he did his research. In that year, there were over 2,596,000 deaths in the country.

That number was important because it was larger than the current third highest cause of death that the CDC had listed.

In the letter, the man notes that it’s important to know what types of things cause deaths every year so that steps can be taken to prevent them. These reports need to be accurate. At the same time, it’s quite important for those who have lost loved once because of medical mistakes to know about all of the legal options that they have in New Jersey, as this is clearly a large problem in the state and the country as a whole.

Source: Document Cloud, “RE: Methodology used for collecting national health statistics,” Martin A. Makary, accessed July 12, 2016