Serious Medical Errors Increase Slightly

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The Indiana State Department of Health says a total of 114 incidents of medical errors were reported last year statewide, a slight increase from the previous year. The numbers are derived from reports from nearly 300 Hoosier facilities throughout the state.

The Indiana Medical Error Reporting System annual report is based on data using the National Quality Forum's reporting standards for 28 "serious adverse events." These include bed sores, a foreign object retained in a patient after surgery, surgeries preformed on the wrong body part and falls resulting in death or serious disability.

State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams says "all Hoosiers deserve to receive quality care, and reducing medical errors is a key step toward achieving that goal. The Medical Errors Report helps us assess how we’re doing and identify opportunities to improve patient safety."

The ninth edition of the annual state report, which surveys hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, abortion clinics and birthing centers includes:

  • 44 stage three or four pressure ulcers acquired after admission to the hospital
  • 27 incidents of a foreign object retained in a patient after surgery
  • 21 surgeries performed on the wrong body part
  • 10 falls resulting in a death or serious disability 

Indiana adopted the National Quality Forum’s reporting standards in 2006, which the state says "are not intended as a comprehensive study of medical errors, but rather as a broad overview of health care issues." In a news release, the department says "prevention of medical errors generally requires a system-based approach. By focusing on a few fundamental prevention activities and an organized prevention system, errors can be prevented."

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