Report Finds 1 in 4 Medicare Patients Harmed During Hospital Stays
Medical errors are a serious public health problem and a consistent leading cause of death in the United States. A report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General on May 9, 2022 revealed that one in four seniors covered by Medicare experienced some type of harm during their hospital stay in 2018. Twelve percent of patients experienced adverse events, characterized as medical care that led to longer hospital stays, permanent harm, life-saving intervention, or death. An additional 13 percent of patients experienced temporary harm events, which required medical intervention but did not cause lasting harm, prolong hospital stays, or require life-sustaining measures. Some of the temporary harm events were serious and could have caused further harm if medical providers had not treated patients in a timely manner.
Types of harm events
Here are the types of harm events that affected Medicare patients in the study:
- Medication side effects (43 percent)
- Patient care issues (23 percent)
- Procedure and surgery complications (22 percent)
- Infections (11 percent)
Were these harm events preventable?
Physician-reviewers determined that 43 percent of the harm events uncovered in the study were preventable and that the preventable events were most commonly caused by substandard or inadequate care provided to the patient.
This report that found a 25 percent rate of harm was conducted based on a review of the medical records of 770 Medicare patients discharged from 629 hospitals in 2018. An Inspector General report from 2010 found that 27 percent of patients experienced some type of harm. That investigation led to new patient safety efforts and incentives that could be attributed to the two percent decrease in patient harm. Efforts have been made to improve patient safety since at least 1999 when a report called To Err is Human was released that estimated up to 98,000 deaths per year could be attributed to medical errors.
Is a medical error always medical malpractice?
Far too many medical errors occur every day in this country, often leading to frustrating health outcomes and even death. However, it is important to understand that not all medical errors are medical malpractice.
The main difference between a medical error and medical malpractice is that in a medical malpractice claim, the patient was harmed as a result of negligent care / care that was not in line with the recognized standard of care.
If you lost a loved one or you or a loved one was otherwise harmed because of negligent medical care, contact a local medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your legal rights. You don’t have to fight for justice alone.
Common types of medical malpractice claims
When a medical professional provides negligent care to their patient and their patient is harmed as a result of this negligent care, a medical malpractice claim may be an appropriate way to recover damages. Medication errors, surgical errors, and negligent postoperative care leading to infections are all common types of medical malpractice claims. A medical malpractice lawyer will be able to determine whether you have a claim.
Seek the help of a medical malpractice lawyer
If you were injured because of medical negligence or lost a loved one due to a preventable medical error, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced medical malpractice attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a medical negligence lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing medical malpractice attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing people injured by medical negligence in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!