Study Finds Number of Hospital Errors Are Increasing

July 31st, 2014

It’s no secret or surprise that mistakes are made in hospitals and doctor’s offices everyday, but one study is showing these errors may be occurring at a rate that is much higher than previously believed. In fact, researchers showed as many as 400,000 hospital errors may occur in the United States each year.

The study—which is published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine— was conducted by examining medical records were collected between 2008 and 2011 for any signs or “triggers” that a mistake by medical staff may have occurred. Doctors then investigated those flagged records to determine if in fact an error had been made.

The medical mistakes that were discovered were then lumped into five categories of error types, including:

  • Commission-Incidents where a doctor treated a patient in a manner they shouldn’t have
  • Omission– Situations where medical staff failed to treat a patient in a timely manner
  • Communication– Mistakes where a mix-up in information about a patient occurred between medical staff, which led to a patient’s adverse event
  • Context– Circumstances where the environment or setting a patient was in played a role in their injury or sickness
  • Diagnosis– A doctor failed to correctly identify a patient’s condition

The researchers concluded hospital errors have increased, leading many to wonder what they can do to stay safe when receiving medical treatment. The North Carolina personal injury lawyers with HensonFuerst suggest having a primary care physician or seeing a general practitioner on a regular basis. This is because the better the repertoire you have with your doctor, the more aware they are of your medical history and are less likely to make errors in your care. Also, ask plenty of questions before beginning any sort of medical treatment.