Hospital Errors Often Go Unreported

Many New Jersey hospitals may be hiding a secret: accidents and errors are occurring without anyone’s knowledge. This trend is not likely restricted to New Jersey, however, as a recent Department of Health and Human Services report illustrates.

According to the report, which reviewed the care received by Medicare patients around the country, only one out seven “adverse events” went on to get identified and reported. An adverse event is one in which the patient’s health changes unfavorably or in an unintended manner. These adverse events go unreported in spite of a system that exists to report and track medical and surgical errors for cause analysis.

There are several reasons why incidents may go unreported. Chief among them is the failure to identify that a problem exists, or what actually constitutes a problem or a compromise of patient health. Other potential reasons for an unreported incident are fear of admitting a mistake or medical staff assuming it was someone else’s responsibility.

No matter the reason why an unreported medical error or accident in the hospital setting occurs, it can have a potentially grave outcome. Some of the adverse events that take place and often go unreported are incorrect medication or dosage, infections acquired during a hospitalization and bedsores. These and other potential problems going unreported, or when a delay in reporting them occurs, have a direct affect on a patient’s outcome. Unreported errors can increase cost, time spent in the hospital and the course of current and future medical treatment.

The current presidential administration has a renewed focus on decreasing medical errors and increasing efficiency. This is likely to bring more scrutiny of the medical industry and turn the spotlight on the issue of error identification and accountability. Patients in New Jersey and around the country should demand it.

Consult an Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured while under the care of a physician or while hospitalized, contact a medical malpractice attorney. An experienced attorney can advise you of your rights, investigate the circumstances surrounding your injury, and hold the responsible parties accountable.

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