Over the past four years, California hospitals have reported 6,282 “adverse events” to the California Department of Public Health. These adverse events range in severity from bed sores to objects left behind during surgery, and the errors have resulted in hundreds of deaths.
California is one of 26 states which requires its hospitals to report adverse events which result in serious injury or death. Unlike many other states, California only requires this information from hospitals, and does not collect this data from mobile surgery centers, long-term care centers, home health care providers, or mobile clinics.
There are 28 different medication, surgical, or safety errors which hospitals must report to the state. All of these errors frequently result in serious injuries or deaths. When a hospital makes such an error, the California Department of Public Health can levy fines against the hospital for each incident. The fines increase incrementally, beginning with a fine of up to $50,000 for the first error, $75,000 for the second error, and up to $100,000 for the third and each subsequent errors.
This gives many hospitals a powerful incentive to avoid filing error reports. Though state law requires hospitals to report adverse events, nearly half of the state’s 410 hospitals report having fewer than five mistakes total over the four year time period. Many of those hospitals reported only a single error.
It seems inconceivable that a hospital with hundreds of employees could make only one mistake in four years. The simple flaws of human nature dictate that the real number is probably much higher. Until hospitals have clear guidelines with strict penalties for non-compliance, it may be impossible to tell how many hospital errors are actually made each year.
It is important to understand a hospital’s safety record and error rate. Patients should have the option of choosing the hospital that is right for them, and avoiding hospitals who are lax on safety.
While every hospital strives to provide quality patient care, many are still falling short. When a hospital’s errors or mistakes causes you injury, you shouldn’t have to suffer in silence. At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., our dedicated medical and legal staff will evaluate the hospital’s error, and will help you develop a medical malpractice case. Dr. Bradley I. Kramer is both a medical doctor and an attorney, and has the unique expertise you need on your side to fight for adequate compensation after an accident or injury.
For a free consultation, contact us by calling (310) 289-2600 and speak with an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney today.