2011 Medical Errors Report for Indiana

Good news for Indiana medical facilities: According to the Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana showed an overall decrease in medical errors in 2011.

The Indiana 2011 Medical Errors Report, which presents information about reportable events that occurred in Hoosier health care facilities in 2011, is the 6th such annual report and compiles data gleaned from Indiana’s Medical Error Reporting System.

The Medical Error Reporting System requires that hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, abortion clinics and birthing centers disclose reportable events that occur within that facility. The list of possible reportable events, based on those used by the National Quality Forum, include events resulting in death or serious disability and any surgical event involving a wrong patient, body part, or procedure.

100 events were reported from the 291 Indiana facilities in 2011. This number is down from 107 events reported in 2010. Of the 100 events reported in 2011, 94 events occurred at hospitals, while 6 occurred at ambulatory surgery centers. This means that nearly a third of Indiana’s facilities reported at least one incident.

The Medical Errors Report further breaks down the 2011 reported events into the most reported events. These are:

  • 41 stage 3 or 4 pressure ulcers acquired after admission to the hospital
  • 18 surgeries performed on the wrong body part
  • 17 incidents of foreign objects retained in a patient after surgery
  • 12 falls resulting in a death or serious disability
  • 3 incidents of death or serious disability associated with a medication error

17 incidents of foreign object retention may seem like a high number, but this incidence rate is actually down from 33 incidents in 2010. In fact, 17 is the fewest number of incidences of foreign object retentions since the Medical Errors Report was incepted in 2007. The incidence of pressure ulcers, also commonly known as bedsores, continues to be the highest reported incident; it has been the highest reported incident for 5 of the 6 years the Report has been compiled. Unfortunately, the 41 incidents of pressure reported in 2011 are up from 34 in 2010.

According to the State Department of Health, medical errors are generally a result of the failure of healthcare systems and processes and not the sole result of individuals’ actions. This requirement to report adverse events helps the state to identify persistent problems within the healthcare facilities, encourages growing awareness of patient safety issues and assists in the development of evidence based efforts to improve patient safety. Another benefit of these publicly reported medical errors is they can help patients better understand their potential risks prior to being admitted to a facility or undergoing a medical procedure.

Have you been injured as a result of medical malpractice? Every Indiana medical malpractice lawyer at Cline Farrell Christie Lee & Bell has experience and can help you explore your options.