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Preventable Mistakes in US Hospitals: A New Hope?

A new study reporting on the medical error rates in United States hospitals found that approximately ninety percent of all hospital mistakes go unreported. The study examined the medical records of nearly eight hundred patients at three teaching hospitals and found that the number of medical mistakes, acquired infections, or subsequent injuries sustained by those patients was ten times higher than the figures reported by the federal government and the hospitals themselves. These findings reflect a disturbing trend of hospitals underreporting of serious medical mistakes; mistakes that need to be disclosed so that care can be taken to prevent those same mistakes from occurring in the future. Take, for example, the recent tragic death of baby Genesis Burkett at Advocate Lutheran General hospital in Park Ridge, where the infant was erroneously administered a fatal dose of sodium that was sixty times higher than prescribed.

Shortly after the release of this report, the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would be spending $2 billion dollars on a new government initiative in order to decrease the number of preventable mistakes, injuries and infections that occur each year in this country. The program, known as the Partnership for Patients, aims to keep patients from getting injured or sicker by decreasing the incidence of preventable, hospital-acquired conditions by 40% compared to 2010. The program also aims to help patients heal without further complications by decreasing the amount of hospital re-admissions by 20% compared to 2010. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the implementation of Partnership for Patients could potentially save 60,000 lives over the next three years and result in savings of up to $35 billion in health care costs.

Hopefully, the implementation of programs like Partnership for Patients will help to substantially decrease the number of preventable hospital mistakes, such as the recent tragedy that befell the family of baby Genesis Burkett. If you would like to learn more about hospital errors and medical malpractice in Illinois, contact the Illinois medical malpractice attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers by calling us at 1-312-464-1234 for a free, no-obligation consultation.