Despite years of patient safety initiatives being put in place, reports of serious medical errors in Florida’s hospitals are still rising.

In 2013 acute-care hospitals reported 617 serious medical errors and other patient injuries. This was an alarming 59 percent increase from the previous year. Other hospitals, including those which provide psychiatric and rehabilitative services, saw a similar increase from 2012.

Some say the reason may be broader reporting requirements from the state. Since 2008, hospitals have been required to notify the state Department of Public Health about serious reportable events. In addition, the Department of Public Health now has a computerized system for reporting as opposed to sending by fax beforehand.

State officials say the new requirements have been fully implemented which should help future safety and prevent medical malpractice.

Some of the serious injuries reported in 2013, these are the areas which saw the largest increases:

  • Patients who underwent a procedure on the wrong body part
  • Patients who were burned in an operative room fire or by a heating pack
  • Patients who were exposed to contaminated drugs or improperly sterilized equipment

Florida is working to reform medical malpractice along with many other states and the federal government. In 2012, the state passed a health care cost containment bill. The goal of the bill was to save the state nearly $170 billion in health care costs over the next 15 years. Included also was a $135 million in grants to help community hospitals improve their data storage efficiency and bringing in a cooling off period for injured patients to negotiate out-of-court settlements with hospitals and physicians.

It has been suggested that Florida hospitals join a plan which would allow doctors to apologize to patients for medical errors and work to settle malpractice claims out of court. It was based on a model developed by the University of Michigan Health System which was credited with reducing the number of lawsuits quite substantially.

Clark Fountain have over 170 years combined experience handling medical malpractice and personal injury claims. We are here to answer your questions and give the best advice should you or a loved one require assistance with a possible Medical Malpractice claim.