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A. A Study Reviews Medical Error Discussions at Hospital Conferences

Narrator: This is Science Today. According to an Institute of Medicine report, each year, an estimated 44 thousand to 98 thousand patients die in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors. Yet, a new study reviewing regular, in-house discussions of medical errors, found doctors did not often discuss them. Dr. Seth Landefeld, of the University of California, San Francisco's Veterans Affairs Medical Center, led the study.

Landefeld: We looked at internal medicine and surgery conferences at teaching hospitals affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford and attended about two hundred conferences at those teaching hospitals and just listened to the cases and listened to what the doctors talked about.

Narrator: While surgeons were more likely than those in internal medicine to discuss medical errors, there was an overall tendency to talk more about new techniques or new drugs and less about errors.

Landefeld: We think that there needs to be more of a culture of saying, hey, this is interesting that something went wrong here - let's think about what we can do to avoid it in the future.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.