The Annual Indiana Medical Error Report outlines errors and events suffered by Indiana patients over the reported year. Its release provides Indiana patients an opportunity to scrutinize care they are receiving at local hospitals.
Implemented three years ago, the reporting system was designed to reduce the frequency of medical errors, reveal the causes of medical errors, and empower healthcare professionals to develop methods to prevent or discover errors before patients are harmed. The reported events occur in hospitals and outpatient surgical and birthing facilities but the report does not take into account the volume of errors that are never recognized or reported.
In addition, this year’s document indicates the reporting system is not meeting its intended goals. As a result, patients around the state are suffering increasing injuries at the hands of medical professionals. The 2008 statement enumerates 105 errors and events. This is the same number of errors reported for 2007 which is a 24% increase over the 2006 report.
Significantly, the information outlines several areas in which the number of reported errors increased from the prior year. Stage 3 or 4 pressure ulcers acquired after admission increased by 22%. Retained foreign objects after surgery increased by 25%. Deaths associated with a fall increased by a shocking 60%. Also of note, ambulatory surgery centers reported their first event of a retained foreign object.
Given the stated goal of the report to assist health care professionals in revealing and reducing medical errors, it is clear the medical community has yet to find a way to protect its patients from personal injuries due to medical errors.