Oregon Hospitals Release Data on Medical Mistakes

Every year, Oregon hospitals submit reports on the medical mistakes that harm their patients. The 2011 report from the Oregon Patient Safety Commission shows that the number of hospital mistakes reported is up from 2010. The goal of the Commission is to track where, why and how the mistakes occur, and use the data to improve patient safety.

Last year in Oregon hospitals:

  • Foreign objects were left in surgical patients 27 times
  • Patients aged 60-69 were the most often affected by medical mistakes
  • Wrong-site surgery was performed 6 times
  • Hospitals reported 22 patient deaths directly attributed to a hospital error, compared to 33 deaths in 2010

The Oregonian reported that more hospital errors reported does not necessarily mean more hospital errors occurred. In fact, the number of medical mistakes happening in Oregon each year is actually much higher. Only small fraction of the number of medical mistakes occurring is being reported, according to the 2011 report.

Oregon’s patient safety reporting program is unique in that it is voluntary. Only one percent of actual medical errors– “adverse events” are reported internally, according to their research. This means that if every hospital turned over every file from their internal reporting, it would still only be a fraction of the medical mistakes occurring in Oregon’s hospitals.

Additionally, although hospital participation is at 100%, the majority of pharmacies, nursing homes and outpatient surgery centers do not report the medical errors in their facilities – see Should an Important Medical Mistake Tracking Program be Optional? .

Read The Oregonian synopsis on the Oregon Patient Safety Commission Report.


See also: Hospital safety is a serious issue