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Study suggests patient safety still an ongoing issue in hospitals

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

In a landmark 1991 Harvard Medical Practice Study, it was revealed that a major source of patient harm stemmed from adverse events patients suffered while hospitalized.

Has patient safety improved since then? A recent study suggests patient safety in the hospital setting is still in need of improvement.

Study reports adverse events still an issue in hospitals

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined over 2,800 hospital admissions in Massachusetts in 2018. Nearly 24% of patients studied suffered an adverse event during hospitalization.

The most common adverse event was medication errors. Surgical errors were the next most common adverse event. Adverse patient-care events were the third most common adverse event. Finally, hospital-acquired infections were the fourth most common adverse event.

Of those adverse events, approximately 23% were deemed to be preventable and approximately 32% were considered severe, meaning that the harm required substantial medical intervention or resulted in a prolonged recovery. One person studied lost their life.

The study concluded that patient safety is still an important issue that hospitals need to work to improve.

Preventable errors and medical negligence

Preventable errors made by hospital staff might be considered acts of medical negligence. A physician is negligent if they breach their duty of care to their patients.

Physicians are expected to provide the same level of care that a physician with a similar education under similar circumstances would exert. If a physician deviates from this standard, and a patient is harmed, the patient may have a cause to pursue a medical malpractice claim.