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Approximately 250,000 Medicare patient deaths involving medical errors could have been prevented, the study found.

The study tracked 16 patient safety measures over the three-year period. The safety problems with the highest rate of occurrence were decubitus ulcers or bedsores, failure to rescue, and post-operative respiratory failure. Two years ago, President Bush signed the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act to help reduce preventable medical errors in healthcare facilities.

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