Report Reveals Most Hospital Errors Go Unreported

The New York Times has reported that only one out of seven medical errors and accidents that harm Medicare patients are reported by hospital employees.

In the article, Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, said that even after medical facilities investigate reported injuries or infections, the facility rarely changes its practice to prevent the error from happening again.

The report says that hospitals are required to “track medical errors and have adverse patient events, (and) analyze their causes” in order to receive payments from Medicare.
Most alarming is that even the most serious problems that caused patients to die have gone unreported. Other events included bedsores, hospital-acquired infections, delirium from too many painkillers, and excessive bleeding due to improper use of blood thinners. These unreported events were spotted by independent doctors who reviewed patient records.

According to the article, hospital employees do not know “what constitutes patient harm,” said Levinson. An employee may assume another employee would report the incident, or they thought it was an isolated event that would not happen again. In other cases, employees thought the events were so common that they did not need to be reported.

Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of said, “Medical mistakes are one of the biggest problems we have in health care today. We’re beginning to see that with more monitoring, we are identifying more problems.”

This is an alarming article and just another reason why we must be diligent if we think that someone in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility is being neglected. If you or someone you know is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may have a case. Contact the attorney team of O’Connor Law for a free review of your case.

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