Government Health Report Shows Hospital Errors Declining and Patient Harm Decreasing
A new study conducted by government health officials and published on Tuesday, December 2nd, shows that the rate of hospital errors, including hospital-acquired infections, and patient harm rates are declining in the US.
Between 2010 and 2013, according to the study – the first four years of new hospital requirements from the Affordable Care Act – rates of drug overdoses, hospital-acquired infections, falls, and bedsores, among many other hospital errors and types of patient harm declined 17%.
The progress report was created by the Department of Health and Human Services, and shows that hospital errors occurred 121 times for every 1,000 patients discharged from hospitals in 2013. In 2010, that number was 145 hospital errors for every 1,000 discharged patients.
“Today’s results are welcome news for patients and their families,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. “These data represent significant progress in improving the quality of care that patients receive while spending our health care dollars more wisely.”
The report estimates that 50,000 deaths related to patient harm have been prevented, and $12 billion saved. However, patient harm due to hospital error is still too high: patients were harmed in some manner because of their hospital stay 3.9 million times in 2013.
Hospital error is unfortunately common. One report showed that 6,000 foreign objects are left in patients during surgery every year, and for patients who survive, they have to undergo additional surgeries and could lose parts of their intestines or take prescription medication to treat blood clots and pain for the rest of their lives. Reporting hospital errors accurately is of vital importance to both hospitals and patients, and dropping metrics “defeats the purpose of being transparent,” said Nancy Foster, quality and patient-safety vice president for the American Hospital Association.
“A 10 percent significant error rate that creates harm, disability and possible death is way too high in American health care,” said Dr. Peter Angood of the American Association for Physician Leadership, who wasn’t involved in the federal report.
Common Patient Harm and Hospital Errors
- “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; and
- 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 Hospital Errors
Each year, nearly 100,000 people die as a result of surgical errors, and many more suffer devastating personal consequences. Surgical errors, hospital acquired infections, 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.