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Indiana reports most common preventable hospital errors for 2012

Many people who have visited a hospital for anything from routine care to emergency treatment have felt some trepidation and reminded themselves that they will be in good hands. Unfortunately, medical professionals and other care providers are not infallible, and mistakes or other substandard practices affect many innocent patients. Illustrating this risk, a recently released report has identified the leading hospital errors that might affect people in Lake County and other parts of Indiana the next time that they seek medical care.

Leading Indiana hospital errors

The 2012 Medical Errors Report was released in fall 2013 by the Indiana State Department of Health, according to the Post-Tribune. The report included all 289 of the state’s hospitals, and the most common errors reported were:

  • Pressure ulcers, which accounted for 30 percent of errors and have been the most common error for 6 of the last 7 years.
  • Surgical items left inside patients, which constituted 19 percent of errors.
  • Operations performed on the wrong body part, which represented 15 percent of all errors.
  • Falls that led to serious injury or even death, which made up 14 percent of errors.

Sadly, many of these injuries could and should have been prevented by professional attention or basic protocol. In fact, more than a third fall into the category of “never events,” which are surgical errors that should never even occur.

“Never events” are not so rare

Summarizing the findings of a John Hopkins University study, Medical News Today reports that every year, more than 4,000 “never events” occur. These events are so named because, unlike errors that will occasionally occur no matter how superior technology, training and protocol are, these are errors that should never happen under any circumstances. The most common “never events” involve objects being left inside patients or surgery being performed on the wrong body parts.

The study found that surgeons who were over the age of 40 were involved in over a third of these incidents. Disturbingly, for more than half of all the surgeons involved in a “never event,” the mistake was not an isolated, one-time occurrence. Safety procedures and other protocols can help medical care professionals avoid making these mistakes, but these measures may not be enough to stop every incident.

Victims of medical errors have rights

“Never events” are arguably the most preventable medical errors, but all of the common errors named in the Indiana State Department of Health report are preventable. Preventable errors often stem from lapses in professional standards of care, and when this is the case, victims have the right to seek compensation for the injury, their personal suffering and any resulting future changes in their lives.

If you have been the victim of preventable hospital errors or another form of malpractice, make sure to speak with an attorney about seeking the compensation that you deserve.

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