Study Finds Serious Medical Errors Are Not Being Tracked

According to a study conducted by Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel Levinson, medical errors that take place in many health care facilities are not being tracked by state inspectors. As a result, 15,000 medical fatalities each month have not been corrected, and in some cases, the problems have not even been addressed at all, exposing patients to the risk of harm from medical error and medical malpractice.

Levinson analyzed hospitals that participate in Medicare around the country and found that many of the worst medical errors — including medical instruments being left inside patients during surgery, surgical fires and operations performed on the wrong patient — have not been reported to national hospital certification agencies. Consequently, these facilities are not given the opportunity to learn from and correct their mistakes, putting patients in danger of similar incidents.

In addition, the study revealed that some inspectors did not even notify the medical facilities about mistakes they found because inspectors wanted to protect the identities of the patients who made complaints. Levinson also found that:

  • Forty four percent of the adverse events that occurred in these facilities could have been prevented.
  • More than 13 percent of Medicare patients in hospitals experienced an adverse event during their stay, many of which caused temporary harm to the patients.
  • Medicare paid over $300 million in October 2008 alone as a result of the adverse events patients suffered in hospitals.

Compensation For Medical Errors

Medical errors can be devastating for patients, costing them their health — and in extreme cases, their lives. If you have been affected by a medical error, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses. If a family member has died because of a medical mistake, you may be able to receive compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.