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January 12, 2006

Medical errors place patients a year at risk

Medical errors, adverse events and 'near misses' could be putting around 34,000 US hospital patients at serious risk every year, according to new research.

By CBR Staff Writer

These are the findings of a study compiled by the Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston. The study looked at over 92,000 medical error reports filed by doctors and nurses in 26 acute care hospitals using electronic error reporting systems.

In analyzing the findings the team threw up some other interesting statistics. In a report to be published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, the team highlights that nearly 70% of all errors made in hospitals cause the patient no harm. The remaining 30% cause damage, while less than 1% are life threatening.

The study also suggest that doctors are less willing to admit their mistakes than nurses, with doctors responsible for fewer than 2% of the reports, as opposed to registered nurses who accounted for half.

In the final analysis the team believes studies such as this will save lives. Dr Stephen Pauker, co-author of the report said, Gathering accurate data about medical errors is a necessary step toward making medical care safer.

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