Hospital Patients Who Suffer Dangerous Bed Sores or Preventable Falls

In terms of serious, preventable medical errors at hospitals, there is recent good news as well as bad news.

According to a new national survey, the number of two specific types of hospital-acquired patient harm – pressure ulcers and fall-related injuries – has decreased over the last four years.  The bad news from the survey is that only about a third of the nation’s hospitals have taken steps to prevent both of these medical errors.

The Leapfrog Group is a not-for-group that focuses on improving the quality of U.S. healthcare.  It just recently issued a new report on the two hospital-acquired conditions: pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bed sores, and patient falls

Patient Bed Sores are Preventable and Potentially Deadly

Bed sores generally occur when a patient remains lying in one position for too long.  They usually develop around the tailbone or hips.  With constant pressure in one area, the skin can weaken and break open, leaving a patient vulnerable to life-threatening infections.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, up to 1 million patients fall in hospitals each year, with one-third of the falls preventable.  A patient who falls in the hospital can suffer broken bones as well as less apparent but more dangerous internal bleeding.

While Leapfrog found the number of patients harmed in 2016 from bed sores and falls declined, it also reported only 35 percent of all hospitals in its survey took adequate measures to prevent both of these care-related health injuries.

Hundreds of Hospital Patient Deaths Could Have Been Avoided

These are serious medical mistakes.  The patient safety organization calculates that if all hospitals adopted measures to eliminate both of these medical errors in 2016, more than 260 patient deaths would have been avoided.

And hospitals located close to each other in terms of geography can be far apart in terms of patient safety.  This survey uncovered a wide range of rates for hospital-acquired conditions between healthcare centers in the same city – from 0 percent to as high as 4.6 percent of patients with bed sores were found in hospitals within a mile or two from each other.

There are many reasons why preventable medical mistakes occur in hospitals, from a poor institutional safety culture to serious miscommunication between healthcare providers.  But if hospitals don’t learn from their errors and take proper precautions, patients will continue to needlessly suffer injuries or die as a result.

If you or a loved one was a victim of a serious medical error during a hospital stay, contact a medical malpractice attorney to bring the medical mistake to light and hold accountable all those responsible for your suffering.

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

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, posted in Blog June 13, 2017