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Does your local hospital report all of its medical errors?

When you enter into hospital or other healthcare facility in Queens, you likely do so with the expectation that not only is its staff fully capable of seeing to your every medical need, but also that any incidents or errors that may have occurred in the past have better prepared them to avoid having such complication affect you. Yet that may not necessarily be the case. Why? Because statistics seem to indicate that many medical errors and adverse events go unreported.

Just how big of an issue is the underreporting of errors in hospitals? In its 2012 report detailing hospital incident reporting, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that as many as 86 percent of errors are never reported. The danger in this, or course, is that if a problem was never brought to light, what is to prevent providers from making the same mistake with your care.

Perhaps more alarming that the rate of underreporting of errors by hospital staff is the common reasons cited as to why this often does not happen. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality listed these to be:

  •          No follow-up after incidents occur
  •          Lack of time to complete incident reports
  •          Incidents deemed by providers to be trivial
  •          Busy employees forgetting to file reports
  •          Uncertainty over who is responsible to file reports

These issues continue to occur despite hospitals claiming to have incident reporting systems. What these reports seem to indicate is a lack of general accountability, which could make it difficult for you know beforehand if you face any heightened risk, as well hard to know if others may have suffered the same error that you did at the hands of the same providers. Such information may be found, however, by subpoenaing a provider’s medical records to review. 

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