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You probably should not be thinking of taking a medical vacation to Italy for that elective surgery.

Row in Italy over medical malpractice death

ROME: A row has broken out in Italy over controversial figures estimating that some 90 people a day die in the country’s hospitals due to bad medical practices.

Some newspapers described the figures as a “massacre”, noting that the yearly number of about 33,000 estimated deaths was more than three times that in road accidents.

The numbers, given in a presentation on Monday at a convention of the Italian Association of Oncological Medicine (AIOM) — but contested by other groups — were given wide play in newspapers and television.

The estimates said most of the errors were made in operating theatres (32 per cent), followed by those in patient wards (28 per cent), emergency rooms (22 per cent) and out-patient clinics (18 per cent).

Some of the deaths could be attributed to inefficient organisation in hospitals, most of which are state-run and overcrowded.

“Whatever the correct numbers are … the data given by AIOM confirms the urgent need to face up to the issue of errors in medicine in order to guarantee maximum safety for citizens who turn to our country’s health services every day,” said Health Minister Livia Turco.

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