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Hospitals resist efforts to make their mistakes public

Hospitals resist efforts to make their mistakes public

Illinois residents that are scheduled to receive medical treatment or undergo a surgical procedure may be alarmed by the frequency that preventable medical mistakes occur in hospitals both inside and outside the operating room. Examples of medical negligence include surgical equipment being left inside a patient and stage 3 or 4 bedsores.

A 2012 study by Johns Hopkins concluded that surgical errors happen 11 times every day, and a 2010 report from the Office of the Inspector General found that Medicare patients alone are the daily victims of 200 surgical and non-surgical mistakes. Patient advocate groups have called for greater transparency in the reporting of these incidents, and they have demanded that hospitals not charge the purchasers of healthcare to correct their errors. However, many hospitals are often reluctant to comply with these requests.

The American Hospital Association has acknowledged that this type of mistake happens, but they have resisted releasing data because they feel that the government’s way of measuring errors is not fair to hospitals. Health care providers have a powerful lobby, and they convinced the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, to announce in 2012 that these incidents would no longer be reported. The agency has since amended their position and will continue to report hospital mistakes through 2013. The CMS has also stated that they are looking at measures that would improve patient safety, and they have added that future Medicare payments may be based on how well these measures are adhered to.

These statistics paint a disquieting picture, and mistakes clearly happen more often than we would like to think. Victims of medical negligence also seem to face an uphill battle with hospitals that do not like to dwell on their errors, and they may find an attorney experienced in medical malpractice to be their best route to a satisfactory outcome.

Source: Forbes, “Bone-Chilling Mistakes Hospitals Make And Why They Don’t Want You To Know“, Leah Binder, July 15, 2013

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