According to new data on medical errors in Indiana for the year 2012, as reported by the Indiana State Department of Health, bedsores and surgical errors constitute some of the most frequent errors reported by hospitals in 2012.
There were 30 incidents involving bedsores reported in 2012. That was a drop from 41 errors reported in 2011. According to the report, the average number of bedsores reported every year is approximately 30, and severe bedsores, or pressure ulcers, have been the most frequently reported medical errors in six of the seven years since the Indiana State Department of Health began compiling the Medical Errors Report.
Overall, a total of 2,100 medical errors were reported in 2012. That was the same number reported back in 2011.
Apart from pressure ulcers, the other most common medical errors reported in 2012 were surgical errors. These include object retention, or foreign objects left behind in the patient’s body after surgery, and surgeries involving wrong body parts. There were approximately 19 incidents involving foreign objects left in patient bodies, and 15 surgeries performed on the wrong body part.
There were also other medical errors that exposed Indiana patients to the risk of injury or death. As many as 14 fatalities or disabilities last year occurred in hospital-related falls.
The report also mentions seven fatalities or serious disabilities linked to contaminated medications. These errors mainly involved administration of the wrong drug, wrong dosage, wrong patient, wrong time, wrong rate, incorrect preparation or route of administration. The seven fatalities are linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis in Indiana. All of these deaths were linked to contaminated back pain steroid injections that had been manufactured by a Massachusetts pharmacy. In Indiana, 60 cases of the fungal meningitis linked to the back pain drug were reported. These cases were reported from Fort Wayne, South Bend, Columbus and other areas.
There doesn’t seem to be much in the report to be encouraged about. While it is true that the number of pressure ulcers have dropped from the previous year, the fact is also that pressures ulcers are still occurring at the average rates that are being reported every year.
What is also very concerning is that the number of patients who die or are severely disabled or injured in falls from hospital beds, continue to remain high. Wrong site surgeries, wrong patient surgeries, foreign object retention in a patient’s body and fall accidents are preventable, and there is no reason why any of these errors should occur in a modern hospital with sophisticated technology and equipment at its disposal.
The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent victims of medical negligence across Indiana.