Rise in bed sores pushes state medical errors to new high

The latest state medical error report shows bed sores were the most reported problem again last year, with the number of incidents growing by 50 percent.

The Indiana State Department of Health said Wednesday that hospitals and clinics reported 45 stage three or four pressure ulcers, or bed sores, acquired after admission, up from 30 in 2012.

Overall, 111 medical errors were reported in 2013, the highest number in any year since the state began reporting them in 2006.

“While individuals may, and do, make independent mistakes, medical errors are more often a system failure resulting from inconsistent care practices between professionals or facilities or communication lapses within or between the many health care professionals or facilities providing care to a patient,” stated state health officials in their introduction to this year’s report.

They added: “The goal of the Indiana State Department of Health is that this data will increase focus on these issues and promote the development of evidence-based initiatives designed to improve patient safety.”

The department said pressure ulcers have been the most reported incident seven of the eight years the report has been compiled and average about 32 incidents per year.

Also reported were 27 incidents of foreign objects left in patients after surgery, 18 surgeries performed on the wrong body part, and 12 falls resulting in death or serious disability. For the second year in a row, there were no serious medication errors reported.

Most of the errors, 102, occurred at hospitals, which matches the highest total for those facilities since 2006. The other nine errors occurred in ambulatory surgery centers, a slight dip from the 12 errors reported by those facilities in 2012.

The full report can be found here.

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