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Medical mistakes decreased between 2010 and 2013

Authorities reported that the statistics on deadly errors made in hospitals or by medical care professionals reflects a declining trend for recent years. A federal review of hospital records reportedly showed that deaths caused by drug mistakes, infections and other preventable injuries or illnesses dropped by 17 percent from 2010 to 2013. If accurate, this is good news for New York, whose courts have fielded their fair share of medical malpractice lawsuits.

The study analyzed conditions developed by patients while they were still in the hospital. Most of the conditions, including infections and pressure ulcers, were considered to be avoidable. Under the Affordable Health Care Act, hospitals must provide public reporting on errors.

While authorities could not definitively identify the factors driving the number of errors down, data showing significant increases in patient safety seem to corroborate the idea that some harm-reduction measures are working. Ultimately, the statistical decline amounts to some 1.3 million fewer cases of illnesses or injuries reported by hospital-bound patients.

However, some authorities claim that there are still many measures that need to be implemented to mitigate the problem of medical errors in the healthcare industry. For example, 10 percent of patients still reportedly suffer from harm caused by a hospital error.

At any rate, medical errors still do occur, and the damages done to the affected patient can be devastating, both physically and financially. Patients who suffer an injury that was caused by hospital negligence may seek civil remedies for these damages. By pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit, they might be eligible to receive financial restitution substantial enough to cover the various bills deriving from their injuries or illness.

Source: CBS News, "U.S. hospitals making fewer deadly errors, study finds", December 24, 2014

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