Massachusetts’ residents may be unaware that rather than getting better at the hospital, thousands of people end up either getting worse or dying of a hospital error, not their original condition. Almost 20 years ago, a shocking study revealed that almost 100,000 people were dying annually due to hospital errors and, in 2010, another study corrected them, estimating almost 180,000 people died in Medicare alone. This number was further elevated in 2013, when another study claimed almost 440,000 deaths were the result of preventable errors in hospitals.
It is a tragic state of affairs when the third leading cause of deaths in America is death by hospital errors-after heart disease and cancer. Given that 440,000 people are estimated to die annually due to this, that translates to about 1,000 preventable deaths a day. If the patient is more than 65 years old, then there’s a 14 percent chance that a hospital visit will make them more sick rather than better.
Since these deaths are spread out, as are the errors, there is a lack of public awareness about them. Additionally, there is a lack of transparency and rare reporting mandates that hinder the errors from being tracked or prevented on a larger scale. There has recently been a concerted effort to measure hospital safety and give grades to hospitals based on certain measures, such as patient falls, infections and deaths from treatable conditions following surgery. So far, of the 2,600 hospitals that have been graded, only 59 hospitals have always received an A grade.
When someone gets more sick, rather than better, at a hospital due to their negligence, they may feel confused and overwhelmed, uncertain of how to get to the bottom of what has worsened their condition. It may be possible to file a medical malpractice suit against a medical professional who has acted negligently.