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Most hospital errors are not reported

When we are admitted to a hospital, we want to think that the medical professionals in charge of our care are competent and dedicated to providing the best quality of care. Unfortunately, that is not always the cases. Due to hospital negligence or simple mistakes, harmful errors occur, and they all-too-often lead to injury or even death.

But according to a new study, the vast majority of hospital errors go unreported. Further, medical facilities rarely change their policies and procedures in the wake of errors in order to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

According to the study, which was conducted by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, less than 20 percent of hospital errors are reported. Common unreported errors include severe bedsores, incorrect or overused medication, or infections acquired at the hospital. The severity of the error did not seem to affect its chances of being reported: there was no significant difference in the reporting of more or less serious events.

What is perhaps the most troubling is that more than 60 percent of unreported errors were not even perceived as such by medical professionals and other hospital employees. At the same time, a different study found that 44 percent of hospital errors investigated by researchers were completely preventable. This means that medical staff is either grossly undertrained or overlooking vital details in patient care.

In that second study, it was found that about one-third of patients who enter the hospital will suffer a hospital-related injury. If you or loved one falls into this category, it may be in your best interest to contact a skilled Florida medical malpractice lawyer and discuss your legal options.

Source: ABC News, "Report: Hospital Errors Often Unreported," Lara Salahi, Jan. 6, 2012

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