When we enter the hospital, we expect our doctors to help us get better. Whether through tests, procedures, medications or surgeries, the hope is that our stay ends in our recovery. Unfortunately for many people, that is not always the case.
Over ten years ago, the Institute of Medicine released its study noting that up to 98,000 people died as a result of hospital errors and as many as one million people were injured by these adverse events each year. This report spawned countless efforts to improve hospital and patient safety over the next decade.
Instead of getting better at preventing mistakes, a new report suggests that things may be worse than expected and that the number of total errors may be vastly underreported.
The study, led by Dr. David Classen at the University of Utah, focused on using different measurement tools to track medical errors. According to a Reuters report, researchers used the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Global Trigger Tool to identify medical mistakes and compared those results to errors caught through voluntary reporting systems and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Patient Safety Indicators.
According to a U.S. News report on the study, the Global Trigger Tools identified 354 errors in 795 cases, compared to 35 using the AHRQ indicators. But researchers also caution that these findings may not tell the whole story as reviews of medical records do not provide the same information as face-to-face contact with a patient. Nevertheless, the results indicate that there is a potential for a medical mistake in one-third of all hospital admissions.
Getting Help After a Medical Mistake
The University of Utah study notes that hospitals and practitioners have a long way to go to keep patients safe. If you have been injured or lost a family member as a result of a medical mistake or act of malpractice, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. These cases can be complex and having an advocate on your side can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.