The Connecticut Department of Public Health just released a report that indicates the number of “adverse events” occurring at Connecticut hospitals rose 7% in 2018, as compared to 2017, resulting in patients suffering serious physical injury or death. “Adverse” describes a consequence of care that results in an undesired outcome. “Associated with” means that it is reasonable to initially assume that the adverse event was due to the referenced course of treatment.
The number of medical errors reported by Connecticut hospitals rose from 351 in 2017 to 376 in 2018. Additionally, in 2018, there were 106 reported incidents in which a patient was injured or died as a result of a fall which is up from a 84 in 2017 or a 20% increase.
The executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, Lisa Freeman, stated, "some of these numbers, they give me chills, they are so frightening. Something's not working. What are we doing to figure out what's not working and why it's not working?”
Two of the statistics that are both unbelievable and frightening are the fact that there were three cases of death or serious injury due to the wrong surgical procedure being performed on the patient in 2017, with that number jumping to seven in 2018. In cases where a foreign object was left inside of a patient after surgery, those incidents rose 65% from 17 in 2017 to 28 in 2018.
One might naturally ask, in this day and age, with all of our medical advances: how is this possible?
Not surprisingly, some of the states largest hospitals reported the highest number of total adverse events which include:
- Yale New Haven Hospital, 55
- Stamford Hospital, 31
- Hartford Hospital, 28
- St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, 27
- Bridgeport Hospital, 21
Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital each reported 14 adverse events. The hospitals with the highest rates of events per inpatient days were Milford Hospital with 70.2 per 100,000 patient days; Sharon Hospital, 55; and Stamford Hospital, 43. Among the 28 acute care hospitals, Day Kimball Healthcare Center was the only one to report zero adverse events in 2018.
What should I do?
If you are ever hospitalized, or have to undergo some surgical procedure, then you need to be an active participant in your medical care and treatment. Bring a friend or family member who can act as a healthcare advocate with you to each medical appointment. Ask questions. When you don't understand what is going on after asking your questions, ask more questions. Have your healthcare advocate record all of this information so that you know exactly what you need to be doing. Make sure you understand all of the options available to you and the associated risks with each choice presented to you.
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