North Carolina Study: Patients Still Aren’t Safe From Medical Errors

Posted on Dec 15, 2010
A large study regarding medical mistakes in hospitals shows that the incidents of hospital errors are not going down – and that a large number of patients are harmed each year because of preventable mistakes. The study took place across ten different hospitals in North Carolina over five years.

Unfortunately, the study echoes the last thorough study that examined medical malpractice in America’s hospitals – a study that found that almost 100,000 people die each year due to doctor errors and millions more suffer serious injury at the hands of medical professionals.

This most recent study found that 18 percent of all hospital patients are harmed during their stay and that over 63 percent of these injuries could have been prevented. The most common medical mistakes and injuries included surgery complications, the spread of infections, and medication mistakes and complications. Though many of the medical mistakes were caught and righted, about 2.4 percent of the doctor mistakes proved deadly to the patients. In 2.9 percent of the cases, patients received a life-long injury from the mistake.

Perhaps the most shocking finding in the medical malpractice study was that many of the medical errors the researchers observed could have been prevented by safety measures that the hospitals should already be implementing. In other words, hospital safety researchers have found the solution to preventing many doctor errors, but hospitals have yet to adopt these solutions in any kind of organized fashion.

Another warning that the researches had regarding the outcome of their study: since they were only looking for a limited number of common hospital mistakes, some kinds of medical errors, such as unnecessary surgery, would not have been detected at all.

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