Medical Errors: a list you don't want to ignore

Medical errors have been in the news lately.  An Ontario provincial review probing unnecessary surgeries at a Windsor hospital found significant concerns with the work of a pathologist involved in a mistaken mastectomy case.

In the US, avoidable medical errors added $19.5 billion to the nation's healthcare bill in 2008, according to a claims-based study conducted for the Society of Actuaries (SOA). The report lists the 10 most expensive errors in healthcare settings.

Read about the SOA report.

Here are the 10 most expensive types of medical errors:

    1. Pressure ulcers--374,964 errors, $10,288 per error and $3.858 billion total.
    2. Postoperative infections--252,695 errors, $14,548 per error, $3.676 billion total.
    3. Mechanical complication of a device, implant or graft--60,380 errors, $18,771 per error, $1.133 billion total.
    4. Postlaminectomy syndrome--113,823 errors, $9,863 per error, $1.123 billion total.
    5. Hemorrhage complicating a procedure--78,216 errors, $12,272 per error, $960 million total.
    6. Infection following infusion, injection, transfusion, vaccination--8,855 errors, $78,083 per error, $691 million total.
    7. Pneumothorax--25,559 errors, $24,132 per error, $617 million total.
    8. Infection due to central venous catheter--7,062 errors, $83,365 per error, $589 million total.
    9. Other complicaitons of internal (biological) (synthetic) prosthetic device, implant and graft--26,783 errors, $17,233 per error and $462 million total.
    10. Ventral hernia without mention of obstruction or gangrene--53,810 errors, $8,178 per error and $440 million total.

They most expensive errors on a per-error basis are:

    1. Postoperative shock--$93,682.
    2. Infection due to central venous catheter--$83,365.
    3. Infection following infusion, injection, transfusion or vaccination--$78,083.
    4. Gastrostomy complications, infection--$66,765.

    5. Complications of transplanted organ--$66,658.
    6. Infection and inflammatory reaction due to internal prosthetic device, implant and graft--$62,265.
    7. Tracheostomy complications--$56,479.
    8. Gastrostomy complications, mechanical--$55,219.
    9. Infusion or transfusion reaction--$51,686.
    10. Gastrostomy complications--$49,115.
    The report highlights the need for hospitals to reduce errors.  It also serves as a wake-up call to patients and family members.  Now that you know where the errors occur, you know a bit more what questions to ask when you or a loved one is hospitalized.
              Read about the review at Hotel Dieu-Grace Hospital in Windsor. 
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