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More than 3,500 medical errors confirmed in 2021

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Status: 06/30/2022 3:49 p.m.

In 2021, the medical service detected more than 3,500 treatment errors in German clinics and medical practices. The number of unreported cases could be significantly higher. Patient rights advocates call for a national registry.

The suspicion of a medical treatment error in a clinic or practice was confirmed in one in four cases in 2021. This ranges from Annual statistics on evaluations of treatment errors by the Federal Medical Service out.

The Federal Medical Service examined 13,050 suspected cases and, out of a total of 3,665 cases, it was actually able to identify treatment errors. In 3222 cases there was a bug with damage, in 2709 cases the bug was also the cause of the damage suffered.

High number of unreported cases

In nearly two-thirds of the cases, the damage was only temporary, but in a good third of the cases examined, the patients suffered permanent damage. In nearly four percent of cases, the error resulted in or significantly contributed to the patient’s death.

The actual number of treatment errors could be significantly higher than the statistics indicate, says Stefan Gronemeyer, CEO of the Federal Medical Service. “The number of unreported medical errors is significantly higher than what is visible in the evaluation statistics. This has been scientifically proven many times over.”

130 “Never Events”

Gronemeyer sees a need for action especially with so-called “never events.” These are errors that could easily have been avoided and which had particularly serious consequences for the patient.

These include, among others, patient mix-ups, medication errors or foreign bodies left behind after operations. But such errors are very rare: according to statistics, there were 130 “never events” in 2021.

Central registry required

“In order to improve patient safety with targeted measures, a national list for ever events should be introduced”, asks Gronemeyer.

Patient advocates are also demanding a national central registry in which serious treatment errors are collected and assessed. “Based on the results, the necessary preventive measures can be derived and it is also possible to check whether they work in practice,” said Federal Patient Officer Stefan Schwartze.

“Only comprehensive statistics show quickly and transparently where things are going wrong and where countermeasures are working,” said Eugen Brysch of the German Patient Protection Foundation.

Source www.tagesschau.de

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