Pennsylvania Tracks Medical Errors
October 11, 2017
Medical errors harmed over 7,000 patients in Pennsylvania hospitals and emergency rooms in 2016, resulting in the deaths of 218 patients. According to a report published in the BMJ, formerly British Medical Journal, medical errors are the third leading cause of fatalities in our country. When a medical error harms a patient, the patient may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Pennsylvania law requires that hospitals, emergency rooms, and healthcare professionals report medical errors to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PPSA), regardless of whether the errors resulted in patient harm. The PPSA tracks and analyzes this data to identify trends that lead to medical errors. It then publishes its findings in an effort to educate and improve patient safety.
The majority of medical errors reported to the PPSA describe what they refer to as “near misses” in patient harm. While all medical errors must be reported to the PPSA, only those resulting in patient harm need to be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which is responsible for the licensing and regulation of healthcare facilities. Over 250,000 reports of medical errors were submitted to the PPSA in 2016, but only 7,548 incidents were reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
While the PPSA and the state health department collect this vital data to protect the public from medical errors, the public does not have access to this information. Patients must rely on both agencies to ensure that hospitals and medical facilities in the state are properly regulated and held to the standard level of care expected at such facilities.
Six-Year-Old Boy’s Death Went Unreported for Three Months
The recent passing of a six-year-old Pennsylvania boy, allegedly caused by a medical error, is currently under investigation by the Dauphin County District Attorney. The boy was taken to the emergency room at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center in January of 2017 with a low body temperature of 89.4 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Medical personnel wrapped the child in a heated thermo blanket called a Bair Hugger at midnight. Nurses and medical technicians failed to monitor the boy’s temperature over the course of the next ten hours. According to the medical records at the hospital, a doctor found the youngster with no vital signs and a body temperature of 107.6 F at 10:00 a.m. the next day.
The hospital did not report the incident to the PPSA and the Pennsylvania Department of Health within the state mandated time. The state health department cited the hospital for negligence for failing to properly monitor the child’s vital signs, and for not reporting the incident for a period of 77 days. State law requires that hospitals and medical facilities report a fatality or serious injury within 24 hours of the incident.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Help Victims of Medical Malpractice Claim Compensation
If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligence of a medical professional, hospital, or healthcare facility, the Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 800-222-8792, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, serving clients throughout the Pennsylvania and New Jersey.