Despite reductions, hospital errors still too high, say officials

Ten percent of hospital patients still suffer from a hospital-acquired condition

Federal officials say that while reductions in hospital errors are encouraging, the number of patients who suffer because of mistakes made at hospitals is still too high, according to Time. The reduction in hospital errors follows stronger efforts to focus on patient safety, particularly in reducing medication errors. While the reductions have saved thousand of lives and billions of dollars, patients still face an unacceptably high risk of suffering from a hospital-acquired condition.

50,000 lives saved

Federal government officials estimate that fewer hospital mistakes led to 50,000 patients' lives being saved between 2011 and 2013. In total, hospital errors have declined by 17 percent in 2013 compared to 2010.

The biggest reductions occurred because of fewer medication errors, which were reduced by 40 percent. Bedsores were reduced by 20 percent and catheter infections by 14 percent. In addition to the lives saved, the reduction in errors also saved $8 billion. While analysts don't entirely agree why errors have gone down, they note that lawmakers and hospitals have put a greater focus on patient safety in recent years after alarms were initially raised about patient deaths in the 1990s.

Errors still too common

While officials described the reductions as a "good start," they did caution that hospital errors remain stubbornly high. According to NBC News, ten percent of patients in 2013 suffered from one of the hospital-acquired conditions studied by federal officials. Additionally, a report released earlier this year found that despite a reduction in hospital infections, one in 25 hospital patients continue to suffer an infection during their hospital stays.

Furthermore, although 50,000 fewer deaths is certainly something to applaud, it is important to keep in mind that estimates place the total number of deaths caused by hospital errors at up to 180,000 each year. Those disturbingly high figures are a reminder of how much work is still required to ensure that patients can feel safe and secure during their hospital stays.

Medical malpractice

While the above story is certainly good news given that thousands of lives have been saved, it is also a reminder that far too many people remain victims of completely unnecessary errors caused by hospitals. Every year thousands of patients die and countless more are injured because of hospital errors.

For those who have been the victim of a mistake made by a medical professional, it is important to reach out to a medical malpractice attorney to discuss what options may be available. An experienced attorney can inform clients about legal options, including the possibility of holding hospitals accountable for any alleged errors they may have made.