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Why it's good news that some hospitals are reporting more errors


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Aug 15, 2012 in Doctor Errors

Going to the hospital for any type of medical procedure is worrisome for many patients in Connecticut. Patients place a great deal of trust in doctors and nurses and expect that in return they will receive excellent care.

Even though medical professionals are highly trained, errors do still occur. Unfortunately, many doctor errors are not reported. So even if a person does extensive research to select a doctor who they trust will provide excellent care, that doctor may have a history of medical errors.

The number of medical error reports submitted to Oregon's Patient Safety Commission increased in 2011. This does not necessarily indicate that more medical errors occurred, however. It does show that hospitals are voluntarily submitting more reports to the commission than in past years. Hospitals allegedly significantly underreport errors to the commission. In comparison to errors reported to the Oregon Office of Health Policy and Research, the number of errors recorded by the commission is minimal.

Why does it matter whether hospitals report medical errors? In order to improve hospital safety for patients, knowing the current status of medical errors is important. By understanding where errors occur and what circumstances are associated with these errors the commission will be able to study the causes and make suggestions for quality improvement.

While this report is about Oregon's hospitals, it is possible that Connecticut hospitals also underreport medical errors. As a patient, being informed about the potential for medical errors is important. If a doctor should make an error when performing a procedure or surgery on you, consulting a medical malpractice attorney may help ensure compensation for additional medical expenses incurred.

Source: Oregon Live, "Hospital error reports up slightly in Oregon," Nick Budnick, Aug. 13, 2012