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Hospital Staff Often Fails to Report Mistakes: Part 2

As discussed in the previous post, a recent report by federal investigators found that too many errors and accidents that harm Medicare patients are going unreported in hospitals around the country, including in Ohio. These adverse events include bedsores, hospital-acquired infections, and harm caused by overuse or improper use of medications.

According to The New York Times, the report found, in fact, that more than 130,000 Medicare patients may have experienced an adverse event in one month in hospitals, but one in seven errors of those errors went unreported. Federal investigators want to know whether these mistakes are being reported because it is a condition of receiving Medicare money that hospitals report harm done to Medicare patients and take steps to prevent those mistakes in the future.

The investigators found, however, that even when adverse events were recognized as such by medical personnel and reported appropriately, very few of these reports led to systemic changes. The Obama administration is working to improve hospital care. So far, 2,900 hospitals have joined with the administration in a three-year effort to reduce hospital errors and save 60,000 lives.

In light of the report, hospitals are saying they will do more to educate employees as to what constitutes an adverse event or harm to a patient and how these events should be reported. Hopefully, with more reporting of errors, more patterns can be noticed and more changes can be put in place hospital-wide and nation-wide to reduce these errors. Even so, many incidents of medical malpractice and wrongful death will still likely occur without being reported or even acknowledged as an error.

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

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