A study published yesterday in BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal, estimates that more Americans may die from medical errors than from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Extrapolating from four previous studies based on data from 2000 to 2008, researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine estimated that more than 251,000 hospitalized patients died from preventable adverse events in 2013. They say that would make medical errors the third most common cause of death in the U.S., after cancer and heart disease, acknowledging that “assumptions made in extrapolating data to the broader U.S. population may limit the accuracy of our figure.” In a statement on the study, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said, “No matter the number, one incident is one too many. Important progress has been made since 2008, the latest year the study examines. Most recently, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that through the hard work of hospitals, physicians and others, hospital-acquired conditions declined by 17%, saving 87,000 lives between 2010 and 2014. Hospitals are constantly working to improve patient safety. But there is more work to do and hospitals are committed to quickly adopting what works into every step of care provided.”