Medical errors are going down

A report released in December 2014 has found that preventable errors in hospitals, such as drug mistakes, bed sores and infections, were reduced by 17 percent between the years of 2010 and 2013. This has resulted in about $12 billion in saved health care costs and an estimated 50,000 fewer deaths associated with errors. The benefits can be seen from California all the way to the East Coast, but the findings of the report must be delved into deeper to be fully understood.

There are a variety of issues that could have resulted in this decline, such as improvements in technology and financial penalties, but the truth of the matter is that there are still issues that must be resolved. The report states that one out of every 10 hospital patients still suffers from some form of medical negligence, which some physicians say is too high.

Other studies have focused on mistakes that still occur. One such study found that medical negligence could be reduced by another 25 percent or more if medical professionals simply had a standard checklist used to share patient information and improved communication between medical personnel when changing shifts.

The observed decline in medical errors is good news, but preventable infections, complications and other mistakes still occur in hospitals, and it’s important that those who made them are held accountable. Individuals who have been injured due to medical malpractice do have some form of recourse after the fact. With legal assistance, it may be possible to recover financial compensation related to an error caused by a medical professional.

Source: CBS News, “U.S. hospitals making fewer deadly errors, study finds“, December 02, 2014

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