x-rayAccording to a new report, one out of every fourpatients admitted to a Missouri hospital is seriously injured due to a preventable medical error.

The report was published in February 2016 by the Heartland Health Research Institute, a nonpartisan and not-for-profit organization. It focuses specifically on health issues in Missouri and other Midwestern states located in America’s “Heartland.”

The white paper, titled “Silently Harmed – Hospital Medical Errors in Missouri,” provides a by-the-numbers examination of preventable medical mistakes in the Show Me State. The researchers take nationally recognized rates of medical errors and apply them to applicable Missouri numbers to paint a vivid picture of how deeply susceptible the state’s hospital patients are to improper medical care.

And the pictures the numbers paint are not pretty.

Preventable Errors Kill Missouri Hospital Patients Every 90 Minutes

In addition to one out of every four hospital patients in Missouri suffering serious injury, HHRI estimates that a Missouri hospital patient dies from a preventable medical mistake about every 90 minutes.

The white paper calculates that preventable errors in hospitals kill between 2,270 and 10,170 Missourians annually. The range is based on low and high national estimates of fatal hospital errors applied to actual 2012 Missouri hospital admissions.

Using these estimates, the researchers conclude the number of Missouri hospital patients that die due to a preventable medical mistake over the next 10 years will range from the population of Webster Groves, Mo. (22,700) to the number of people who live in Columbia, Mo. (101,700).

Missouri Hospital Adverse Events

When a patient suffers harm due to the use of a medical product, it’s known as an adverse event. According to the HHRI’s report, the most common Missouri hospital patient adverse events include:

  • Drug errors
  • Bedsores
  • Urinary tract infections related to catheter use

The white paper goes on to estimate that each year:

  • 39,400 Missouri hospital patients suffer an adverse drug event
  • 19,700 Missouri hospital patients suffer bed sores
  • 9,500 Missouri hospital patients suffer a catheter-related urinary tract infection

HHRI provided estimates of the “social costs” for Missouri’s preventable medical errors. These costs, which include medical costs, are associated only with the patients and not their families. They range from $2.1 billion (in 2014 dollars) to $3.7 billion per year for all Missouri hospital patients injured by a serious medical error. When a patient dies due to a medical error, HHRI estimates that average social cost for that one death to be $5.5 million.

If you suspect a loved one died or that you suffered a serious injury as a result of a doctor’s mistake, an attorney who represents victims of medical malpractice can pursue the just compensation to which you are entitled.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.