Patients admitted to the hospital generally expect that the medical care they receive will improve their health, not worsen it. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. In some instances, patients are harmed as a result of their medical treatment. For example, a patient may contract an infection associated with the use of a catheter or experience a surgical complication. According to an official report from the Office of Inspector General (US Dept of Health and Human Services) these types of events – termed “adverse events” – affect a significant portion of Medicare beneficiaries.
Prompted by the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, the Office of Inspector General conducted a thorough examination of the issue of adverse events. One of the most noteworthy outcomes is a report describing the incidence rate of these events. Using a random sample of Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospitals during a 1-month period, the Office of Inspector General found that 13.5 percent experienced adverse events and that for 1.5 percent of beneficiaries, these adverse events contributed to their deaths. An additional 13.5 percent of beneficiaries in the sample experienced temporary harm as a result of their medical care, bringing the total percentage of beneficiaries experiencing instances of care-related harm to 27 percent. Nearly half (44 percent) of these adverse or temporary harm events were preventable.
By Michael W. McGuckin, Esquire; Attorney for the Reading, Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law Firm of Liever, Hyman & Potter, P. C. which limits their practice to medical malpractice, car, truck, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death cases, premises liability, nursing home neglect, and work injuries. Serving Berks, Schuylkill and surrounding counties for over 50 years.