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STAT Op-Ed by Christi A. Grimm, Ruth Ann Dorrill, & Julie K. Taitsman: New report: gains in patient safety have stalled over the past decade

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By Inspector General Christi A. Grimm, Regional Inspector General Ruth Ann Dorrill, & Chief Medical Officer Julie K. Taitsman

Hospital care helps patients recover from serious illness and injury but, all too often, patients can also be harmed by it.

In 2010, our office, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG), reported that 27% of Medicare beneficiaries experienced harm during hospital stays. These harms were uncovered through an extensive medical record review by nurses and physicians trained in patient safety. They included temporary events such as low blood pressure that can cause falls and other problems, as well as serious events such as strokes and sepsis, which prolong hospital stays, cause permanent injuries, and, in some cases, contribute to death.

Almost half of the harm events identified could have been prevented by better care.

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