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Hospital errors no longer disclosed to the public

It may be of interest to New Mexico residents to learn about recent reports regarding hospital errors. Hospitals along with attending medical professionals possess a certain responsibility and are typically expected to avoid surgical mistakes such as administering the wrong blood type, oversedation or foreign objects left inside the patient.

Recently, the federal government has stopped producing public reports of errors, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services have allegedly denied that such changes have been implemented. As a result, it has become more difficult for patients to research which hospitals have a high rate of post-surgery issues. Most of the data about hospital-acquired conditions has been removed by CMS and is now available only to patient-safety advocates and quality researchers. Computer-savvy individuals may also be able access it, but it is beneficial only if the consumer is able to understand the medical terminology.

The Hospital Compare website previously included the information about several hospitals nationwide where the patients stayed up to 25 days in recovery due to serious illnesses or injuries. The only recorded information presently available to the public includes occurrence rates for 13 conditions; the others were reportedly omitted in the statistics provided by CMS. The original goal was to reportedly improve the recording process.

Although medical personnel should follow the necessary protocols during patient treatment, errors are made and often result in serious injury. With the help of an attorney, an individual directly affected by medical malpractice may wish to file a civil suit to recover damages for their hospital bills.

Source: USA Today, "Feds stop public disclosure of many serious hospital errors", Jayne O'Donnell, August 06, 2014

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