Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Surgical error and Pennsylvania hospital goes unreported

Hospitals and medical centers are not always willing to report medical errors. Per a report from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, one surgical error was not reported because the hospital classified the event as a complication rather than as a serious event. Apparently, the medical center in question reported the error onto their legal department but not to the state.

The incident involved a 78-year old woman who underwent outpatient surgery. However, during the surgical procedure, the patient's bladder was then nicked. The surgery apparently could not then be completed as planned, and the woman was then sent home with a catheter in her bladder.

Under Pennsylvania law, "serious events" concern unexpected injuries that came about due to a medical procedure. These events are to be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Health for further study. The purpose behind the law is to learn why medical mistakes have happened and, presumably, prevent these mistakes from happening again.

The incident was eventually discovered by the state in any case, and the medical center has now been told by the state to carry out a corrective plan including educating staff about Pennsylvania laws requiring the reporting of specific errors. The medical center has also released a statement concerning this incident.

Unfortunately, not all unreported medical mistakes or surgical errors are uncovered by officials. Certain mistakes may occur that only certain medical personnel know about.

Because unreported surgical errors do occur, individuals that suspect such mistakes may wish to speak to a medical malpractice attorney regarding the incident. Attorneys can investigate and even pursue the matter should there be evidence of wrongdoing.

Without transparency in the medical system, it is likely that no actions will be taken to prevent surgical errors from reoccurring.

Source: pennlive.com, "Carlisle Regional faulted for failing to report surgical injury," by David Wenner, Feb. 28, 2013

  • More information regarding legal options in event of surgery errors can be found at our Pittsburgh attorneys' webpage.

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