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Indiana Department of Public Health Releases Latest Medical Error Report

Steve Wagner

Rewind to 2005 when Governor Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. issued an Executive Order (05-10) requiring the Indiana State Department of Health to develop and implement a medical error reporting system. The goal of this project was to develop a system to reduce the frequency of medical errors, reveal the causes of medical errors, develop best practices, reduce healthcare costs and empower healthcare professionals to design methods to prevent or discover errors before patients are harmed. The system would involve hospitals, ambulatory outpatient surgical centers, abortion clinics, and birthing centers. Prior to this order, the Indiana State Department of Health did not collect medical error data.

In February of 2017, the Indiana Medical Error Reporting System Report for 2015 was released. With 440,000 patients dying each year from preventable medical errors, costing the U.S. tens of billions of dollars a year, it is no wonder medical errors remain the third leading cause of death in the United States.


The most reported event for 2015 in Indiana was stage 3 or 4 pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores) acquired after admission. Bed sores that go untended can develop into deadly infections. This issue remains at the top of Indiana’s medical error list over the years, followed by retention of a foreign object in a patient after surgery, surgery on the wrong body part and serious disability or death associated with a fall. These were the same top four reported events in all but two of the years of medical error reporting.

Indiana Medical Error Report 2015

Source: Indiana Medical Error Report 2015, Indiana State Department of Health, (February 2017).

The report states that medical errors generally are not the sole result of actions of individuals but rather the failure of the systems and processes used in providing healthcare. In addition, the report says, “the requirement to report events identifies persistent problems, encourages increased awareness of patient safety issues and assists in the development of evidence-based initiatives to improve patient safety.” At times these events can turn into a case of medical negligence or wrongful death in which family members and loved ones are often left with large medical bills and funeral expenses, not to mention lost wages and extensive pain and suffering.

Indiana’s medical error reporting system is based on the National Quality Forum’s twenty-eight (28) serious reportable events. The 2015 Report is available online on the Indiana State Department of Health Web site on the Medical Error Reporting System home page.

Medical negligence and wrongful death medical malpractice cases represent well under two percent of all civil cases and vary for each situation. If your loved one has suffered personal injury or death due to medical negligence or recklessness of the medical community, Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese can handle your Indiana accidental or wrongful death claim with years of experience and proven results. Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today (888) 204-8440for your FREE consultation!


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