Survey Reveals Thousands of Patients Could be Dying Needlessly Every Year

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Colemans-ctts respond to a new survey published by the British Medical Journal which has revealed almost 12,000 patients could be dying from preventable deaths within care.

Almost 12,000 adult patients could be dying preventable deaths in hospital each year, a survey published by the British Medical Journal has revealed. (Full publication and details of report at the bottom of release).

According to the results of the report into preventable deaths – defined as deaths which were caused by a failure to correctly diagnose a condition, or by the treatment of a condition caused by the administration of inappropriate treatments – led by Dr Helen Hogan, a clinical lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 5.2 per cent of deaths had a 50 per cent or greater rate of being preventable.

The most commonly cited reasons for the preventable deaths were poor clinical monitoring, diagnostic mistakes and inadequate drug or fluid management.

Researchers compiling the report looked at the case records of 1,000 adult patients who died in 2009 while being treated at ten acute hospitals across England. Most of the preventable deaths researched by reporters occurred in patients who were elderly and already frail, and were judged to have less than one year of life left.

While the researchers conceded that concrete figures are hard to define with so many variables, it was estimated that in 2009 there would have been 11,859 preventable deaths among adults in acute hospitals in England, based on 228,065 adult deaths in hospitals in England in that year.

Commenting on the figures, Kathryn Turner, Head of Clinical Negligence at Colemans-ctts Solicitors said:

“It is quite shocking that nearly 12,000 people could be losing their lives each year due to the negligence of hospital staff, whether this be through misdiagnosis or the administration of the wrong drugs. Elderly people are clearly more vulnerable but this should result in higher levels of care instead of cut corners and preventable fatalities. Having said that, the researchers pointed out that the figure for preventable deaths is actually much lower than they envisaged before beginning the report, which is a much more positive statistic.

“However it does leave you wondering just how many of those who survived such blunders are suffering in the long term due to what they were put through.”

Colemans-ctts specialises in clinical negligence claims and can help patients to claim compensation for poor hospital treatment. They can also work to help bereaved families seek compensation after a death due to negligence. Visit http://www.colemans-ctts.co.uk/services/accidents-and-injury/clinical-negligence/ for more details.

Publication Name: British Medical Journal Quality & Safety

Study Name: [Preventable deaths due to problems in care in English acute hospitals: a retrospective case record review Online First doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001159]

Published 13/07/2012

http://group.bmj.com/group/media/latest-news/Around%2012-000%20acute%20hospital%20deaths%20each%20year%20in%20England%20are%20preventable.pdf

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Kathryn Turner
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