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Comments, Opinions, and Brief Case Reports
August 13/27, 2001

Bone Marrow Failure From Medication Error: Diagnosis by History, Not Biopsy

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(15):1911-1912. doi:

The increasing number of medical errors in today's complex health care environment is a worldwide problem. It is estimated that between 44 000 and 98 000 Americans die each year because of medical errors, which is more than the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes, breast cancer, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.1 Medication errors alone are estimated to account for 7000 of these deaths annually in the United States, which is more than double the number in the early 1980s.2 We report a fatal case of bone marrow failure (fatal despite early diagnosis and treatment) due to the inadvertent administration of methotrexate.

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