Archive for the ‘patient safety’ tag

Thousands Die Every Year from Preventable Medical Errors

August 13th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

complicated medical technology, diagnosis errors, lethal harm to patients, medical error, medication misuse, medication overdose, patient safety, preventable medical errorsThe last analysis regarding an estimate of patient injury associated with hospital care was conducted in 1999. The study was based on data from 1984 and was completed by the Institute of Medicine. It concluded that almost 98,000 people died each year because of medical error. However, a more up-to-date analysis was recently completed using data from 2008 to 2011.

Led by Dr. John T. James, in conjunction with Patient Safety America, the new study found that a minimum of 210,000 people die each year from preventable medical mistakes. But the study’s author says that number is probably closer to 400,000 deaths every year. The study also found that “serious harm” to patients was 10 to 20 more common that “lethal harm.”

The research team reviewed files from four different studies to determine if a patient adverse event (PAE) had occurred. They then took the PAEs (preventable adverse events) and divided them up into five categories.

  • Commission errors;
  • Omission errors;
  • Communication errors;
  • Context errors; and
  • Diagnosis errors.

Those events that went into the commission group were events that were easily identifiable as something medical personnel did that should not have been done. This is where the 210,000 number was developed from and why the researchers put the actual number closer to 400,000—the number of events contained in the other four categories.

The study addresses several areas that should be examined as contributing factors to the severe spikes in PAEs. Those areas include:

  • Misuse and overuse of medication;
  • Complex and complicated medical technology;
  • Too much focus on high-revenue treatments and procedures; and
  • Lack of good record keeping.

Other studies have shown that many physicians do not report PAEs. One study in particular found that two–thirds of the cardiologists surveyed had recently not reported events they were aware had occurred. Dr. James writes in his report that not only do hospitals need to address the changes needed to stop these preventable medical errors, but patients too must become more involved in their own treatment.

If you suffered an injury caused by a preventable medical error due to another’s medical negligence, contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to find out what financial compensation you may be entitled to for pain and loss.

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