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Medication errors, mistakes underreported by Maryland hospitals

When it comes to medical mistakes, full disclosure is crucial. Patients should understand why the mistake occurred, what they are facing and how the hospital will address the situation. However, the disclosure does not end there; state health officials should also be aware of which incidents occurred so that they can properly grasp the severity of the situation and know how to proceed with corrective measures. According to experts, it is difficult to gauge the medical situation in Maryland since hospitals are allegedly underreporting incidents.

According to patient safety experts, hospitals are not doing their part because of the fear of legal and financial implications, as well as overall confusion about the rules of reporting medical incidents. This is not good for Maryland patients. Medication errors rank third on the list of the main reasons why Americans lose their lives. The Journal of Patient Safety reports that over 400,000 patients die annually because of medical mistakes. Fortunately, five states, including New York and Minnesota, have laws that require hospitals to inform the public about medical errors.

According to a recently released report, six patients died after falling and hitting their heads, three infants were infected by catheters and died and four patients lost their lives after being over-sedated. However, information regarding the cases was lacking. That number also seems to be unreliably low. According to regulators, Maryland hospitals underreport the incidences of bedsores the most. There is also the category of bloodstream infections that seems to go unnoticed.

A Maryland patient who experiences misdiagnosis, failure in treatment and other medical errors may wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a negligent hospital or medical practitioner. The possible compensation could be used for corrective treatment.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Maryland hospitals aren't reporting all errors and complications, experts say," Meredith Cohn, July 26, 2014

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