Federal Study Shows Under reporting of Hospital Errors

I recently read an article in Bloomberg online which confirms what most personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys know to be true: hospital errors are vastly underreported, with a federal study finding that a full 90% of patient injuries are not recorded. The most common injuries are pressure sores and infections following surgery, according to the U.S. Agency For Healthcare Research and Quality, which analyzed 354 “adverse events”, including bloodstream infections, medication errors and pressure sores. The data was taken from 3 U.S teaching hospitals, which remain anonymous due to patient confidentiality issues.

The adverse events happened during 33% of admissions at the hospitals, using reviews of 795 patient records by nurses, pharmacists and physicians. No effort was made in the study to determine if the errors could have been averted.

In a 1999 study by the U.S. Institute of Medicine, it was determined that 98,000 deaths and more than one million injuries were due to medical errors. In a 2008 study by the Seattle consulting firm Milliman Inc., which reviewed hospital claims from 2001 through 2008, they found that these errors cost the 17.1 billion by 2008, and identified 564,000 injuries to patients in U.S. hospitals and 1.8 million injuries to patients treated at outpatient facilities.

Closer to home, considering these eye opening statistics, this writer is thrilled that Governor Andrew Cuomo failed in his efforts (at least for this year) to cap at $250,000 all medical malpractice awards in New York State, which he had inserted in his 2011 budget (as a clear gift to very well paid insurance companies and hospital administrators) but gave up in negotiations with the Assembly and NY Senate two weeks ago.

Should you fall victim to a medical error committed by a doctor, hospital or other medical provider, contact the Westchester County Medical Malpractice Attorneys at the White Plains, New York Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 for a no-cost consultation to discuss your case in detail.