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Fatal Hospital Errors – New Jersey Reports 71 Percent Increase

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The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has announced the results of its third annual Patient Safety Act report, which show that in 2007, a full 72 New Jersey hospital patients died as a result of preventable medical errors.

This figure represents a 30% from 2006 figures—a potentially disturbing finding, considering the deliberate effort New Jersey has been taking in recent years to reduce the number of medical errors (particularly “never events”—errors so egregious, they should absolutely never happen) in its hospitals.

Officials are saying that the increase may be due to more widespread reporting of error-related deaths, since the 2004 Patient Safety Act requires that New Jersey hospitals report every serious accident, as well as every serious surgical or medical error made by their staff. Since the 2004 Act, the number of total reported preventable errors has increased every year, peaking last year at 456.

Despite the mandate, data suggests that NJ hospitals are still vastly under-reporting their medical errors and accidents—which inevitably deters the implementation of effective preventative and corrective measures, ultimately leading to more errors and accordingly, to more of the medical malpractice lawsuits that those without the facts are citing as the greatest financial problem in the health care system.

Lawsuits are not the problem. They happen after the problem, because there’s a problem, to help fix the problem.

If you would like a free consultation by an experienced New Jersey attorney to tell you whether or not you have a meritorious medical malpractice case, contact New Jersey medical malpractice attorney Michael A. Ferrara, Jr. at mferrara@ferraralawfirm.com.