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Nearly 30 percent of patients in rehabilitation hospitals are injured by medical errors

Rehabilitation hospitals provide services for people who are recovering from brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, strokes and other debilitating conditions. Patients attend these facilities on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on their specific needs. Rehabilitation hospitals, like every other kind of hospital, must provide proper care for their patients.

According to a new study, rehabilitation hospitals fail in this duty all too often. The Office of Inspector General, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published a study titled "Adverse Events in Rehabilitation Hospitals: National Incidence among Medicare Beneficiaries." Key findings include:

  • 29 percent of patients at these facilities were harmed during their stay
  • Nearly half of these incidents (46 percent) were deemed preventable
  • Almost one-fourth of the patients harmed had to be transferred to an acute-care hospital
  • Medication errors were the most common type of error. Infections, bedsores and falls were other common types of errors.

Thankfully, less than one percent of the errors led to the patient's death. With that said, in many cases, these errors created delays in the patient's recovery, loss of mobility or body function, and even permanent disability. These hospitals generally require that patients are strong enough to go through three hours of therapy five days a week. As a result, patients at these facilities tend to be healthier than people in hospitals or nursing homes.

According to the study, the most common reasons for these errors were substandard treatment (28 percent of errors) and poor medical judgment, skill or patient management (23 percent). While there are no cure-all solutions for these types of errors, proper training and communication can go a long way to ensuring patients receive proper treatment.

All medical professionals have a duty to their patients to provide an appropriate level of care. If you or someone you love was harmed in any type of medical facility, it may be the result of medical negligence. The injury lawyers of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor have been proud to help people across Delaware recover full and fair compensation after an act of medical malpractice.

Source: Rehab hospitals may harm a third of patients, report finds, NPR, Marshall Allen, July 21, 2016

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