10 key statistics on medical errors

Here are 10 things to know about how the public thinks about medical errors and patient safety, according to Harvard School of Public Health's "The Public's Views on Medical Error in Massachusetts." 

The surveyors found:

1. Around 25 percent of the people in Massachusetts reported experiencing a medical error within the past five years.

2. The medical problem was a misdiagnosis in about half of the cases.

3. There were 32 percent of respondents who reported getting an infection as a result of a test, surgery or treatment.

4. Half of those who reported medical errors said there were serious consequences as a result.

5. The errors were almost always occurring when the patient was treated in a hospital; around 75 percent said they were in a hospital.

6. Those who were surveyed said they felt mistakes made by individual healthcare providers were more likely at fault for the medical errors. More than half — 52 percent — of respondents felt that way.

7. Only around 33 percent of the respondents felt the hospitals or clinics were at fault for their medical errors.

8. While many reported medical errors, only 54 percent said they reported the medical errors to their providers. Most of those who reported the error to the providers said they wanted to prevent it from happening to someone else.

9. Among those who did not report their medical errors, 65 percent said it was because they "didn't think it would do any good."

10. The wrong test, surgery or treatment was given in 38 percent of the people who reported medical errors; 32 percent reported getting the wrong medication.

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