Across the globe, as many as 40 million cases of medical errors result in patient harm every year. Those findings come from the results of a new review that analyzed more than 4,000 articles, involving care given in hospitals across the world.
The review of these studies focused on seven key aspects of poor care, including catheter-associated bloodstream infections, hospital-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infections, medication errors, hospital falls, blood clots and bed sores.
The review found for every 100-hospital admissions across the globe, there are approximately 14 cases of substandard care that are recorded in high-income countries like the United States. The number of cases involving harm to patients in hospitals is much higher in low and middle-income countries, with 26 million cases recorded every year. In the case of high-income countries, there are approximately 17 million cases of patient harm recorded every year.
What's especially interesting to California medical practice lawyers is the fact in high-income countries like the United States, the most common types of substandard care that resulted in patient harm were medication errors. In low-income countries, the most common type of substandard care was the formation of blood clots.
In fact, these medication-related errors occur in approximately 5% of all hospitalizations. In high-income countries, such low quality hospital care resulted in 7.2 million years of life lost either to death or disability as a result of the error.
Medication errors that result in patient harm are almost entirely preventable. Many of these errors can be avoided by involving patients in their own treatment and medication programs and encouraging patients to be more involved in their own safety.