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Fatal Medical Injuries Are Less Likely to Occur During Accreditation Surveys

Fatal Medical InjuriesStatistics indicate that medical errors are now responsible for more than 250,000 fatalities in America per year; this makes them the third leading cause of death. Unfortunately, it seems little is being done about the problem. Instead, the rates continue to climb. However, one study has found an exception. It appears that hospital patients are slightly less likely to suffer an error-induced fatality during accreditation surveys. Learn more about this interesting phenomenon, and learn what you can do if a medical error happens to you or someone you love.

Accreditation Surveys and the Decrease in Fatalities

Accreditation surveys are conducted by the Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit hospital accrediting organization. Intended to ensure hospitals are conforming with protocol and meeting the minimum standard of care guidelines, these inspections are unannounced but occur approximately every 18 to 36 months. Hospitals that fail to meet the mark are at risk for penalties, loss of accreditation, or possible closure.

The potential penalties may be responsible for the slight decrease in fatalities within hospitals during accreditation surveys. Experts do not believe it is due to a reduction in infections or other aspects of patient safety; instead, they believe the decrease in fatalities may be related to an increased sense of awareness while inspectors are present. For example, nurses and doctors may be more diligent in charting during a survey, which can reduce the risk of a medication error that may compromise the patient’s health.

Even a Small Decrease Can Make a Massive Difference

Although the recent study found only a minuscule reduction in patient fatalities during accreditation surveys, they noted that any improvement could have a significant impact. For example, the 1.5 percent reduction in fatalities seen in most hospitals during inspections could eliminate as many as 50 deaths per hospital, per inspection week. The rate was also higher in teaching hospitals (a 6 percent reduction in fatalities during the week of inspection), which has an even greater impact on the number of hospital deaths.

What the Data May Mean for You

If you or a loved one has experienced an injury or fatality while receiving medical treatment at a hospital, it is important that you have your case analyzed by an attorney for potential medical errors. With decades of combined experience and a commitment to protecting the victims of medical malpractice, Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP will be on your side. Schedule a free consultation with our San Jose medical negligence lawyers to learn how we can assist with your case. Call (408) 289-1417 today.

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