Medical errors are all too common for consumers of healthcare services. I previously reported that approximately 1,503,323 people die or are injured annually as a result of medical errors
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General published an account of “adverse events” showing that 27% of Medicare patients experience an adverse event as a result of their healthcare, including hospital infections and complications of medical negligence. Roughly half of those adverse events are preventable, according to the study.
For consumers of healthcare services, this is bad news. While hospitals are supposed to be places where the sick get better, this study shows that many hospitalized patients end up getting sicker or substituting one health problem for another. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has attempted to combat this epidemic by publishing a list of “never events” — medical errors that should never happen — and refusing to reimburse hospitals for complications related to these events when they occur. However, patient safety has not improved. For now, patients’ only recourse is to file a medical negligence claim, thereby obtaining compensation for unnecessary injuries and forcing healthcare providers to pay the costs of their mistakes.