A recently released, nationally representative report from the Oregon Patient Safety Commission (OPSC) provides a chilling glimpse into how many preventable fatal errors hospitals make, how slow their progress on reducing that number has been and how severe those errors are.
According to the report, 34 patients died as a result of avertable mistakes in Oregon’s hospitals last year. That figure had not decreased from 2009. Perhaps most disturbingly, the report revealed that in 2010, the state’s surgeons had accidentally left objects inside patients 18 times and in 10 cases had either operated on the wrong body part, operated on the wrong patient or performed the wrong procedure.
“The culture of patient safety is not where it needs to be,” Bethany Higgins, the OPSC’s administrator, told The Oregonian after the report’s was released. The same could be said for any state: A study published in Health Affairs in April suggested that nationwide, “adverse events” occurred in approximately a third of all hospital admissions.
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