CT’s hospital safety system questioned

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Media reports have raised concerns about patient safety in CT hospitals and the system that is meant to protect us. A Hartford Courant article on Sunday uncovered thousands of “adverse events” or dangerous mistakes at CT hospitals that were never reported to DPH. A 2002 law mandated public reporting of serious errors, but a 2004 law watered down the reporting requirement so that most of the errors do not need to be reported at all, and those that are, remain secret. Proponents of the 2004 law maintain that shielding error reports from the public encourages reporting and development of constructive plans to fix the problems. However there is no evidence that it is working that way and the number of investigations is down since 2004. The AG has called for a return to strong public reporting requirements. Indiana, Minnesota and Massachusetts all provide consumers with detailed, specific information on medical errors, and in at least one state that reporting has served as a “catalyst for change” leading to adoption of best practices and better quality care. Sunshine heals.
Ellen Andrews