A recent report found that only one out of every seven medical errors or mistakes that happen to a Medicare patient are properly reported. These mistakes ranged from injuries like infections, to a patient actually dying. Yet, in many cases hospital employees did not even report the incident, which could have shed light on to what happened to avoid the same medical mistakes in the future.
According to the inspector general of the Department of Health, hospitals are required to properly track and record any medical mistakes or adverse patient events, and then look at what caused those issues. This is supposed to be done in order for the hospital to receive payments from Medicare.
However, it turns out that many hospital employees think that another colleague made the report, or that the issue was unlikely to even happen again, and therefore didn't report it. In some instances, the employee even thought that the issue was so common that it didn't need to be reported.
These errors that went unreported also ranged from the most serious -- where a patient actually died -- to things like excessive bleeding from too many blood thinners to bedsores.
And while some say that medical mistakes are one of the larger issues facing the entire health care industry, without hospitals creating and following protocols to make sure that medical errors are properly recorded, care in the future will most likely not improve.
Of course, for any patient in the hospital, it's scary to think that medical mistakes even happen in the first place, let alone that they aren't always being properly recorded. However, if you or a loved one has recently suffered adverse effects due to a medical error, know that there are often legal avenues that can be taken against the hospital to hold them liable for compensation.
Source: Fox News, "Report: Most Hospital Errors Go Unreported," Jan. 6, 2012
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