Why Hospital Errors Keep Rising

If medical errors were classified as a disease, it would be the sixth leading cause of death. Some reports rank this as high as number three.

The US Department of Health and Human Services unveiled the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act in 2005 in an attempt to curtail the rising rate of medical mistakes during hospital stays. Five years later, HHS called for reform of the system when new data highlighted the fact that 27 percent of Medicare patients treated in hospitals were victims of medical mistakes. (The Office of the Inspector General reiterated those findings in early 2014.) Half of those injuries were considered preventable

To err is human, to forgive is divine, but some of the mistakes are unforgiveable and cry out for accountability. Why do negligence and preventable mistakes continue to impact patients in hospitals every day? The reason may be as simple as this: To err is human; to look away, divine.

When mistakes are made, other healthcare personnel (e.g.: nurses, other doctors) are usually around to either witness the errors as they happen or learn of them after reviewing a chart or having to deal with the ramifications of the mistake. It seems, however, that many healthcare workers have adopted a twist on a common saying: “See something, say nothing.” Reporting of medical errors in hospitals is fair at best. So far, American healthcare facilities haven’t been able to wrap their proverbial arms around the problem.

Across the pond, however, England’s Department of Health is all too aware that the issue of rising hospital errors isn’t a problem limited to the United States. NHS England launched a “Sign Up to Safety” Campaign to preventable errors in British hospitals in half by the end of 2017. Healthcare workers are being asked to help in the more accurate reporting of preventable hospital errors.

Perhaps the American healthcare system should follow suit. While self-policing this problem may not seem like the best idea, it’s a beginning to ending a serious problem affecting our community and nation.

If you or someone you love has been injured due to a preventable medical error made in a hospital or nursing home, contact personal injury lawyer Barry Sugarman for a free consultation about your case. He will fight to hold the correct parties responsible and work hard to get you compensated for your injuries.


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