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Most Medicare patient errors in hospitals not reported: Part 1

Federal investigators recently released a report that found that most errors that occur in hospitals and harm Medicare patients are not reported. According to The New York Times, federal investigators found that only one out of seven errors was reported. Even the errors that get reported do not lead to changes in patient care in order to prevent further medical errors, the investigators found.

The investigators were looking into the errors and how they were dealt with because hospitals are required to report errors if they receive Medicare money. It was found that even when patients died as a result of their care, many times the error was not reported.

The most common problems with care and issues of medical malpractice include severe bedsores, infections that patients get in hospitals, overuse of painkillers leading to delirium or improper use of blood thinners leading to excessive bleeding.

In the past, it was believed that medical personnel underreported mistakes because they were afraid to admit the error. Federal investigators believe that these days medical personnel do not know what constitutes a mistake or preventable patient injury or further illness.

The next post will further discuss this issue of underreported hospital-caused injury to Medicare patients.

Source: The New York Times, "Report Finds Most Errors at Hospitals Go Unreported," Robert Pear, Jan. 6, 2012

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