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Experts Say Patient Harm Not Tracked Well Enough

Healthcare Professionals Call for Better Tracking of Patient Harm

patient careOn Thursday, medical experts testified before Congress that the healthcare community was not doing enough to accurately track patient harm, which is the third leading cause of death in the US.

“Our collective action in patient safety pales in comparison to the magnitude of the problem,” said Dr. Peter Pronovost, senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “We need to say that harm is preventable and not tolerable.”

Fifteen years ago, a report from the Institute of Medicine showed that patients were at risk of severe personal injury or death from medical errors, prescription complications, or hospital-acquired infections. Dr. Ashish Jha stated that patients in 2014 are at the same risk of patient harm and preventable errors as the original study.

Healthcare advocates testified on Thursday, July 17th, before the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging to discuss patient harm as one of the leading causes of re-hospitalization and death in the United States. Although the Affordable Care Act in 2010 set up better standards for hospitals and patient treatment, the last piece of that legislation was finally enacted in June this year, reducing patient harm through hospital-acquired infections by reducing Medicare funding to the worst offenders.

Dr. Jha, however, suggested that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) begin tracking other forms of patient harm, not just acquired infections.

Medication errors with prescriptions, for example, are still a huge problem. According to Dr. Tejal Gandhi, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation, dosing errors, adverse drug events, and injuries from side effects begin to show up within 30 days after a patient is prescribed a drug – and such patient harm occurs 25% of the time.

John James, a scientist and patient advocate whose son died due to a series of medical errors, inspired the senate subcommittee hearing with a study that showed patient harm due to medical error led to 400,000 preventable deaths per year. James has suggested that the federal government establish a National Patient Safety Board, similar to the National Transportation Safety Board, to catalogue and investigate reports of patient harm across the country.

Common Surgical Errors Leading to Infection, Patient Harm, and Other Personal Injury

These surgical errors can include:

  • Wrong site” operations where a procedure was performed on a perfectly normal limb or organ leaving the problem area neglected.
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Performing an unnecessary procedure
  • Miscalculations taking place during plastic/cosmetic surgery
  • Postoperative infections that are preventable
  • Surgical instruments being left in the body
  • Incisions opening up after being stitched close during surgery
  • Excessive and continuous bleeding following surgery

Any time a patient goes into surgery, risks are associated. Most of the time a surgery is performed successfully without any complications. However, sometimes things do go wrong. Surgical errors can stem from the preoperative surgery stage all the way through the postoperative stage. A physician may overlook something in the patient’s health history causing surgical errors later on or, after surgery, a patient may not have achieved the anticipate results from the surgery, either way errors took place and you or your loved one deserve compensation for those errors.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help Those Suffering from Patient Harm from Medical Errors

Each year, nearly 100,000 people die as a result of surgical errors, and many more suffer devastating patient harm and consequences from infection, drug reactions, or other injuries during a hospital stay. Surgical errors and medical malpractice can ruin you and your loved ones’ lives, demanding time away from work and thousands of dollars in medical bills. If you or a loved one has suffered pain, patient death, and continuing health problems after surgery, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free consultations, so contact us today about your medical malpractice concerns. 803.252.4800



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