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Family-reported medical errors not always put in medical records

No one likes being ill or seeing a loved one in the hospital. Nonetheless, many residents in Montana and elsewhere require the expertise of medical professionals to recover from an ailment. While these medical professionals have completed the training and education necessary to diagnose and treat patients, some doctors and nurses make mistakes and errors while treating a patient. This unfortunately could cause much harm to a patient, causing his or her health to be put at risk.

No one expects to be a victim of medical errors; however, these events occur in hospitals across the nation. According to recent reports, roughly half of all family-reported medical mistakes are not even documented in hospital medical records. This report is based on a study focused on parents of hospitalized children who were harmed by medical errors or adverse events.

This study discovered that when families were included in the systematic surveillance of hospital care, the medical error detection rate increased by 16 percent and adverse error detection rate increased by 10 percent. Thus, this data suggests that families should be part of the safety reporting within hospitals.

Despite the number of parents reporting medical errors and adverse events, the survey data indicates that the family-reported error rates was much higher than the rates listed in the hospital incident reports. This suggests that family-reported errors are not always documented or acted upon. In fact, data proposes that 49 percent of family reported errors and 24 percent of family-reported adverse events are not documented in a patient's medical record.

As this study suggests, medical errors and adverse events are not always recognized or acted upon by medical professionals. Therefore, it is important that injured patients and their loved ones understand what rights are afforded to them in the matter. A medical malpractice claim could help a patient recover damages for losses such as medical expenses.

Source:, "Hospital records often miss family-reported medical errors," Ilene MacDonald, Feb. 28, 2017

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