Error reports at hospitals reach new high in 2010

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The number of medical errors reported this year is the highest in the five years since reporting them became required.

For 2010, there were 107 medical mistakes reported from health care facilities statewide in Indiana. The most common - 34 cases - was a patient getting a late-stage ulcer or bed sore after admission. Six of those cases were at IU Health, two at St. John's in Anderson.

The next most common was foreign objects being left in a patient after surgery, with 33 instances. That happened eight times at IU Health's Riley, Methodist and University hospitals, twice at St. Vincent Hospital on 86th Street and once each at Community South and Hancock Regional.

Seventeen times, a patient fell and either died or was seriously injured. IU Health West reported three such cases and there were two cases at Reid Hospital. Fourth most common was 14 surgeries on the wrong body part.

The most errors overall were at IU Health's Riley, Methodist and University hospitals, which also have the highest volumes of patients.

Also worth noting is there were no errors reported at Riverview, IU Health North, Johnson Memorial, Kindred South, Indiana Heart Hospital, Indiana Orthopedic Hospital and Wishard Hospital.

So what can you do if you suspect an error?

If you have a loved one who is bedridden, stay on top of how often they are getting rotated to lower the risk for ulcers. Also, mark the part of your body when going in for surgery.

The error data is valuable for health care professionals to establish and follow protocols.