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

smoke, hazy sky, wildfire smoke

Hazy conditions may lift temporarily, but smoke will keep coming for MN

Drifting smoke "will likely remain with us for a while," one group warned.

Pixabay - covid face mask bicycle bike

Number of MN counties with high, substantial COVID transmission hits 64

Nine days ago, 14 counties passed that threshold. We're now up to 64.

rowdi billboard

Six months on, devoted family not giving up search to find missing Rowdi

Rowdi went missing on the North Shore in February, but Cory Carlson has hope Rowdi is still alive.

Pixabay - hospital emergency room sign

Woman suffers fractured neck, leg after driver blows through stop sign

The crash happened early Thursday about 20 miles outside of Detroit Lakes.

suni lee

Watch: Suni Lee reunites with family after winning 3 Olympic medals

Suni said she wouldn't be where he is today without her family.

Julie blaha and melisa franzen

Blaha, Franzen reveal extent of injuries suffered in crash

The state auditor and state senator were driving home from FarmFest.

covid vaccine card

More than 11K Minnesotans signed up for $100 COVID incentive on Day 1

The new vaccination rewards program opened on Wednesday, and it has proven quite popular among the newly vaccinated.

jeremy jones richardson - pine county

Charges: Man broke into friend's home, killed him with his cane

Pieces of the victim's cane were found on his back, charges say.

Awwal Adebayo Ladipo Go Fund Me hospital

Charges: Fatal punch after fight led to fractured skull, brain bleed

The victim, a 25-year-old St. Cloud State grad, died two days later.

Pixabay - school - classroom

Minneapolis Public Schools to require face masks for staff, students

The rule goes into effect Monday, and will continue at the start of the new school year.

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.