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Federal agency says doctor errors are in decline

Doctor's errors are a common problem in America's health care system. They cost billions in loses as well as cause injuries and fatalities to patients. Regardless of whether the error is a misdiagnosis, a surgical error or a hospital infection, the error should not occur and must be prevented at all cost. However, a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services may change people's minds about medical errors.

Reportedly, doctor errors are declining. The Department of Health and Human Services announced the big news after discovering that hospitals around the U.S., including those in Maryland, are making fewer errors when treating patients. If that is the case, hospitals are sparing 50,000 people from life-altering medical errors, and are saving $12 billion from health care cost associated with these mistakes. The DHHS released this statement after analyzing data collected between 2010 and 2013 from different health care providers across the U.S., including 13 from Maryland's general hospitals.

The federal agency explained that the 17 percent drop in medical errors in the past years is the result of hospitals' efforts to reduce their mistakes that result in falls, pneumonia, infections, pressure ulcers and other complications. The rate of incidents related to medical mistakes dropped to 121 per 1,000 hospital discharges in 2013, which is lower compared with the 145 per 1,000 in 2010. The focus to improve and reduce the number of medical errors began after the Institute of Medicine stated that nearly 100,000 people died each year due to medical mistakes.

However, medical errors are still a problem for American patients, healthcare officials and providers. Every time a doctor error occurs, it puts a patient's life at risk. It also affects the credibility and safety of hospitals. In the event of a medical error, hospitals and healthcare providers involved might face serious legal consequences.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Medical errors in U.S. hospitals fall," Meredith Cohn, Dec. 2, 2014

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