Experts: Maryland hospitals aren't reporting all errors and complications

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

August 6, 2014

It’s impossible to know how many physician errors and complications harm patients every year in Maryland, because that state’s hospitals do not reveal details of so-called adverse events, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.

 

The term “adverse events” refers to preventable medical errors that kill more than 400,000 Americans each year and seriously harm at least 10 times that number, according to the article. Maryland is not alone: only five states – including Minnesota and New York - have passed laws requiring that hospitals publicly report mistakes.

The report stated that data that is collected may be flawed, because some kinds of mistakes appear to be under-reported. Specifically, Maryland hospitals reported that none of the millions of patients treated from 2004 to 2006 suffered from bedsores, which is surprising considering that bedsores are a common ailment caused by lying down too long.

 

The report said that after a push by state and hospital officials to improve reporting, the number of patients who contracted bedsores increased to 144 in fiscal year 2011 before falling to 52 in fiscal year 2013. According to national data presented in the article, about 0.6 percent of patients get bedsores that progress to the advanced state — a rate that would translate to more than 4,000 cases a year in Maryland.