Hospital Errors May Not Improve, Even When Tracked
Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) April 23, 2013 – Sometimes the news is downright depressing. Hospital errors may not improve, even if they are tracked.
“You would think that if a hospital took the time to report medical errors that they would do something about the information they have in their hands at the end of the day. It seems they don’t, which is depressing news to patients that may be victims of hospital errors,” remarked Michael Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas.
This is not just a concern for a few hospitals across the U.S. in general. It has the potential to affect every hospital, in every state, including Arkansas’s system of hospitals. Adverse medical events sound rather highfalutin, but the bottom line is they involve serious medical errors that either cause significant harm, or death. Nowhere is that made more clearly than in the spate of recent reports released in Minnesota and other states. “But look around, the state you live in has just as many worrisome statistics when it comes to medical malpractice,” added Smith.
“Let’s just take a quick look at what Minnesota found. They have been tracking medical negligence for nine years, and their conclusion is that hospitals continue to make the same mistakes at virtually the same rate. For instance, surgeons operated on the wrong person and the wrong site at least 53 times,” Smith recounted. There were at least 73 very serious falls that resulted in six deaths. Those are eye-opening statistics, even in the face of process checks to reduce errors.
It seems that between September 2011 and October 2012 that their hospital system noted over 300 reportable hospital errors. Out of those mistakes, there was a death tally of 14 people and 89 seriously injured patients. “And the kicker? The errors were preventable,” said Smith. This is frightening, as this kind of pattern of errors exists in just about every hospital across the U.S. which makes sense, as they are staffed by humans, and humans make mistakes. “Which is not to say that excuses them, but it points to a factor that cannot be controlled to any great degree when trying to reduce the number of medical errors.”
Aside from the “human’s make mistakes” sobriquet, it appears that a large number of medical professionals do not understand what is involved in a time-out process check. It is a process whereby the surgeon, before starting an operation, is required to mark the designated site with a felt pen and have the patient themselves sign their initials. While the pen is apparently being used, it seems the surgeons are signing the mark, not the patients. And the point of that would be what?
“Another time out is supposed to be called before the main surgical event, to double check all is well and everyone is on the same page and operating on the right location and person. However, with a surging group of people all dancing about the patient in the O.R., some things fall through the cracks,” Smith pointed out.
The bottom line is that there is room for improvement in every hospital in the U.S. when it comes to medical negligence. “In the meantime, if you feel you have been the victim of a hospital error, talk to me. I can walk you through your legal rights and we can determine if you have a case,” added Smith.
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