Deaths caused by hospital errors fell by 75 percent last year

Despite the reduction in deaths, preventable errors increased in Minnesota hospitals.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Deaths caused by hospital errors in Minnesota dropped by 75 percent last year, even though overall errors rose.

The Minnesota Department of Health released on Friday its annual "adverse health events" report that shows how many people using state hospitals were affected by avoidable errors, such as bed sores, getting the wrong surgery, and falls on hospital wards.

There were 336 adverse events reported to the health department between Oct. 7, 2015, and Oct. 6, 2016, the report says, but there was a significant reduction in the number that resulted in a patient's death – down to four last year compared to 16 the year before.

Three of these deaths were caused by falls, and the other caused by a medication mistake.

Although describing the improvement as a positive step forward, adverse health events program director Rachel Jokela told the Pioneer Press "it's kind of hard to celebrate that number until it's zero."

"We are sorry when any of those events happen; that’s four patient families that lost a loved one," she said.

Overall, there were 336 adverse events reported in 2015-16 which resulted in 106 serious injuries, compared to 316 errors with 93 serious injuries the year before.

For the first time since 2011, there were no deaths resulting from suicide. There were six attempts made in hospitals over the 12-month reporting period.

Causes of hospital errors

The most common adverse event in Minnesota hospital is bed sores, with 129 preventable incidences of these reported in 2015-16. This is the highest number reported since 2012, when there were 130.

There were 72 falls, three of which proved fatal. But while the number of falls rose slightly last year, there were still fewer than in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and the number of deaths caused by them is the lowest in the past five years.

Of the 72 falls, 31 percent of them resulted in a hip fracture, while 36 percent resulted in either broken arms or legs.

There are several categories of surgical errors, such as having the surgery carried out in the wrong location (which happened 30 times), having foreign objects left inside during the surgery (26 times) and having the wrong procedure (19 times).

The Minnesota Department of Health says there were 3.1 million surgical or invasive procedures carried out in state hospitals during the year.

The incorrect medication was administered on 19 occasions, according to the report.

Not all of the errors result in harm however. The report also includes errors like when biological specimens get misplaced or lost, which happened 31 times during the reporting period.

Next Up

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.

PennyMomentos

How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.

Drywall

Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.

ambulance

4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.

Marcus Carr

Gophers season preview: New lineup, deeper bench, more questions

Mathew Goldstein takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the college hoops season.

20201107_vivir-1151-Edit

Photos: ViV!R, Minneapolis' new Mexican cafe and shop, is now open

The team behind the acclaimed Popol Vuh have opened the cafe in the same space.

MasklessJudgesinWiscoyTownship

At Wiscoy Township's sole precinct, election judges ditched masks

Voter and Wiscoy resident Kaitlyn O'Connor took a photo of the judges after asking them to wear masks, she said

Related

Hospital errors rose in Minnesota last year, leading to 12 deaths

Figures from the Minnesota Department of Health show a rise in preventable deaths.

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.01.36 AM

Overdose deaths involving opioids, other drugs fell in MN last year

It's welcome news, but health officials say overdose rates are still at historic highs.

fentanyl

Drug overdose deaths increased by 20 percent last year after declining in 2018

Preliminary data show a substantial increase in overdose deaths, especially among synthetic opioids and psychostimulant drugs.

Minnesota saw an 'alarming' rise in sexually-transmitted diseases last year

Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis all rose in 2016.

Record amounts of drugs were seized in Minnesota last year

Included in the record haul was 488 pounds of meth.

There was a huge rise in fentanyl deaths in MN last year

The worrying statistic was confirmed by the health department.