Law Talk: Inspector General Report Shows Only 14% of Hospital Errors Are Actually Reported
For all the talk about frivolous lawsuits and the need for tort reform and damage caps, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services recently released a report showing that only 14% of hospital errors are actually ever even reported. Moreover, the report showed that even when errors were identified, most hospitals rarely changed their policies and practices to prevent repeat errors, saying the event did not reveal any “systemic quality problems.”
One example of serious hospital error is wrong site surgery, which is estimated to occur up to 6 times per day in the United States. One such example is a 3 year old Oregon boy who was recently scheduled for surgery to correct a lazy left eye but wound up having unnecessary surgery on his right eye!
Another recent study released in the journal Health Affairs found that fully one-third one-third of hospital visits lead to injury, with as many as 90% of hospital errors are missed by current reporting systems. Further, the report showed that as many as 44% of the errors could and should have been prevented.
Patients and families should take great care to be a diligent partner in your own health care. Ask questions, monitor your progress and medications, do your own research, and ask more questions!
If you suspect that you or loved one have been the victim of one of these all-too-common errors, call an attorney to see about your rights and how you can help prevent against similar errors for others in the future. In the light of the ineffectiveness of the voluntary reporting systems currently in place, a robust judicial remedy is a much-needed tool for accountability and proper deterrence of avoidable errors.
If you need help, feel free to call our office for a free consultation. You can also browse our website for lots of helpful information about medical errors and the legal process involved.