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Maryland hospitals dispute: Not all malpractice is reported

This news might make you worry, especially because it implies that Maryland hospitals aren't reporting all of the errors and complications that take place within their doors. It's already known that medical errors that could have been prevented kill over 400,000 Americans each year, but the July 26 article claims that the number may not be accurate.

Hospitals are required to report serious medical errors to state regulators. Some safety experts and regulators have claimed that the system used to catch all of those errors still isn't recording all of them. There could be several reasons for that, from confusion over how the report needs to be made to failing to make a report due to the fear of legal repercussions.

One patient safety expert from Johns Hopkins Hospital claims that if all the adverse events in hospitals were added up, they would probably be the third leading cause of death; that's an unacceptable number. Some states have helped the public make their own choices about their care by requiring hospitals to publicly report their mistakes; that's only true in seven states, though.

Here's something interesting brought up in the story; none of the Maryland-based hospitals reported patients between 2004 and 2006 suffering from advanced pressure ulcers, better known as bedsores. Knowing that bedsores are a common ailment that happens when a person lays down too long, how could it be possible that none of the millions of patients had any? National statistics have proven that on average, 0.6 percent of patients get bedsores that become advanced. That should indicate around 4,000 cases per year in Maryland.

With reports lacking, you can never be sure how safe your hospital really is. If you've struggled with a personal injury caused by medical malpractice, reporting it is one way you can help prevent the same issues from happening in the future.

Source:  The Baltimore Sun, "Maryland hospitals aren't reporting all errors and complications, experts say" Meredith Cohn, Jul. 26, 2014

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