Hospital errors rose dramatically, with surgical errors particularly troubling
Connecticut hospitals suffered a significant increase in the number of patient errors-referred to as "adverse events"-in 2013, according to the Hartford Courant. Compared to the year previous, averse events rose by about 20 percent in 2013. Surgical errors saw the biggest increases, although medication errors, bed sores, and patient falls also climbed steeply. The report comes as criticism has mounted over the quality of care given to patients at hospitals in the state.
Surgical errors a big problem
The number of adverse events in 2013 was over 500, more than double the 244 adverse events reported in 2012. While much of that increase is due to expanded reporting requirements for pressure ulcers, authorities say that even without those new requirements hospital errors would still have been up by 20 percent.
Objects left in patients during surgeries saw the biggest climb, with 25 such incidences reported in 2013 versus 12 the previous year. Likewise, patients who were injured by perforations during surgery increased from 55 in 2012 to 79 in 2013. Those surgical errors are the highest ever recorded since hospitals first started reporting the errors in 2004. Patient falls, medication errors, and surgeries being performed on the wrong body part also saw significant increases.
Concerns about Connecticut patient safety
The report is not the first time concerns have been raised about the state of Connecticut's hospitals. According to the Stamford Advocate, in 2012 and 2013 Connecticut also ranked as the worst state in the U.S. in terms of the percentage of its hospitals that fell below federal standards for infection rates. While most states saw an average of 20 percent of its hospitals failing to meet those standards, over 50 percent of Connecticut hospitals had unacceptably high infection rates.
Those problems have resulted in reduced Medicare funding for some health care facilities in the state. Federal authorities have begun using patient safety measures, such as infection rates, as a way to penalize hospitals that fall below acceptable standards. The most recent report notes that while the bigger hospitals, as expected, saw the highest number of adverse events, smaller regional facilities saw worryingly high concentrations of specific problems, like wrong-site surgeries and medication errors.
While people in Connecticut expect they will get the best care possible when they visit a hospital, the above story shows that that is not always the case. Patients are routinely exposed to unnecessary risks, such as surgical errors, medication mistakes, and bed sores, that can lead to injury or even death.
When such negligence does happen, victims should reach out to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help clients understand the legal process that typically occurs following alleged medical malpractice and what types of claims, if any, can be pursued for any negligent or reckless behavior committed by health care professionals.