Medical Errors: A Look Back
Errors of the Past -- And What Hospitals Are Doing to Prevent Future Mishaps
By DAN CHILDS
Nov. 20, 2007—
Wrong-side amputations. Patient mix-ups. Equipment left inside patients' bodies.
Fortunately, the chance of a serious mistake occurring during any given medical procedure is small. But these errors do happen -- and due to the sheer number of medical procedures that take place in the country every year, they add up. A report last April by the independent health care-ratings company HealthGrades found through Medicare hospitalization records that nearly 3 percent of patients in the nation's hospitals risk experiencing hospital errors.
The report further suggested that those patients who experience an error in treatment or care at a hospital have a one in four chance of dying from the mistake. In total, HealthGrades said, 247,662 patients studied between 2003 and 2005 died from potentially preventable problems.