Were you injured by a preventable medical error in Virginia? Medical malpractice is far more common than most people realize.
Usually, when medical malpractice figures are quoted, figures from a 1999 Institute of Medicine report are used. This report concluded that 44,000 to 98,000 people die each year from medical mistakes that occur in hospital settings. The authors believed these statistics showed medical malpractice should be considered a national epidemic. However, studies since 1999 show that 98,000 is probably a low estimate.
In 2004, HealthGrades, a hospital rating company, awarded its first annual Distinguished Hospital Award for Patient Safety to 88 hospitals with the best records of patient safety. In conjunction with these awards, HealthGrades released the results of its own study on patient safety in American hospitals. The study focused on Medicare hospitalizations.
Since 2004, Healthgrades has repeated the study each year. This data comes from the 2011 report.
Years studied: 2007-2009
Thirteen patient safety indicators used in the study:
1. Death from a procedure that usually has a very low risk of death
2. Pressure sores or bed sores as the result of hospitalization
3. Death following a serious complication after surgery
4. A foreign object left in the body after a medical procedure
5. Collapsed lung after surgery or a procedure done on or near the chest
6. Bloodstream infection related to catheter use in the hospital
7. Bloodstream infection after surgery
8. Hip fracture after surgery
9. Excessive bruising or bleeding after a medical procedure or surgery
10. Electrolyte or fluid imbalance after surgery
11. Respiratory failure after surgery
12. Deep vein clots in legs or lungs after surgery
13. Breakdown of an abdominal incision site
Total number of patient safety events: 708,642
Total cost of these patient safety events: $7.3 billion
Number of patients affected: 667,828
Number of deaths among patients experiencing one or more patient safety event: 79,670
One in ten surgical patients died after experiencing aone of the following complications:
- Pulmonary embolism
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Cardiac arrest
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
52,127 patients developed bloodstream infections; 8,114 died.
268 hospitals were awarded Patient Safety Excellence Awards. Patients treated at the award-winning hospitals had a 46.26% lower risk of experiencing an adverse health event.
If all hospitals maintained the same safety standards as the award winning hospitals:
- 174,358 patient safety events would not have occurred
- 20,688 senior patients would have survived hospitalization
- The U.S. would have saved $1.8 billion in health care costs.
Three hospitals in Virginia received Patient Safety Excellence Awards. These are:
- Augusta Health in Harrisonburg
- Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center in Williamsburg
- Lynchburg General Hospital in Roanoke-Lynchburg
This study included only Medicare patients. Current estimates are that 180,000 people die each year because of preventable medical errors. Almost 1.5 million are injured. These truly are epidemic numbers as they make preventable medical mistakes one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
Are you or a loved one a victim preventable medical error? Contact the Virginia medical malpractice attorneys at Tavss Fletcher. We may be able to help you obtain compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering and more. Contact Tavss Fletcher at 757.625.1214 to request information or to schedule a free consultation with a Virginia medical malpractice attorney.