U.S. Hospital Medical Errors Keep Rising: Report
Safety incidents linked to these mistakes topped 1.2 million by 2004
MONDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- The number of medical errors leading to "patient safety incidents" rose in U.S. hospitals to 1.24 million between 2002-2004, compared to 1.14 million over the previous three-year period, says a new study released Monday by the healthcare ratings company HealthGrades.
These incidents also resulted in $9.3 billion in excess costs, the report found.
Those 1.24 million safety incidents occurred among 40 million hospitalizations covered under Medicare. Patients at the top-performing hospitals had 43 percent lower incidence of medical errors compared to patients at the worst hospitals.
Among states, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Kansas ranked as the top ones for hospital patient safety. New Jersey was the worst for patient safety, along with New York, Nevada, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.
"Overall, we see the number of patient safety incidents in American hospitals continuing to increase, at an enormous cost, and we still see a large gap between the incidence rates at the nation's top-performing and worst-performing hospitals," Dr. Samantha Collier, vice president of medical affairs at HealthGrades, said in a prepared statement.
"But we do find the results of serious attempts to grapple with this issue in the success of top-performing hospitals and in progressive states like Minnesota," Collier said.
Among the other findings in this third HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals study:
The most common safety incidents were decubitus ulcers (bedsores), post-operative sepsis (a bacterial bloodstream infection), and failure to rescue.
"Failure to rescue is the inability to save a hospitalized patient's life when that patient has acquired in the hospital a complication, such as when a patient admitted for a total knee replacement develops pneumonia and dies," Collier said.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more about improving healthcare quality.
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