UPDATE: Medical errors lower than first Minnesota report

March 6, 2007

Indiana hospitals and health care centers committed at least 77 serious preventable errors in 2006—some of which even killed or seriously harmed patients, according to a preliminary report released today by the Indiana State Department of Health.

The report is the first of its kind in Indiana, but it won’t be finalized until August because the reporting of some data for 2006 errors could be delayed by as many as six months.

Indiana is the second state, after Minnesota, to require the reports. Indiana’s error rate was slightly lower than Minnesota’s when it first compiled a report in 2004.

“I think this first year we didn’t have anything close to the full counting and full compliance that we’d hoped to,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels at a news conference.

Daniels, who ordered the report with an executive order in 2005, said its purpose was not to punish healthcare providers but to spur improvement. “The learning that will come from this is really the point,” he said.

Marion’s major hospitals, Clarian Health Systems—the largest in the county—reported the highest number of serious errors: 15. Community hospitals had two errors. St. Vincent Indianapolis and Wishard hospitals reported one error each, and St. Francis hospitals reported none.

Statewide, hospitals accounted for 72 of the errors. Ambulatory surgery centers were responsible for the other five.

The most common errors were allowing patients to develop severe bed sores, leaving “foreign objects” in a patient after surgery and performing surgery on the wrong body part. The fourth most common error was giving patients the wrong medication.

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