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Report: Medical mistakes rising in Indiana

The number of medical errors in Indiana is rising, according to a newly released report by the Indiana State Department of Health.

In 2010, there were 107 medical errors reported at Indiana health care facilities, up from 94 errors reported in 2009. The data was collected by the state's Medical Error Reporting System.

Those mistakes include leaving foreign objects inside patients during surgery and performing surgery on the wrong body part.

“It's their job to tell you if there is something wrong and they told me that it was okay," said Janet Feeney of Greenfield.

While she was not a victim of a medical error, she said her daughter was.

In December of 2000, Feeney gave birth to her first child, Maddi. After about a week, Feeney noticed Maddi would suddenly start shaking on one side of her body.

"She would start crying and then she would stop," said Feeney. "She would turn blue and then she would, you know, she would start convulsing."

Feeney took Maddi to a hospital, where she said, doctors ran tests and then sent her home.
 
"They said, you know, babies, babies cry and babies shake and that she was fine," recalled Feeney.

But Maddi was far from fine, said Feeney. She kept crying and shaking through the night. The next morning, Feeney took her daughter back to the emergency room and this time, she found out Maddi had been having seizures for nearly 24 hours.

Feeney said doctors missed a red flag in her test results.

"They did not read a low blood calcium," said Feeney, adding that doctors told her the low level might have been triggering the seizures.  "I'm still numb to think that, that happened."

Nearly 11 years later, Feeney said her daughter is still struggling from the incident

"On the MRI it shows that she has brain damage," said Feeney. "You don't have the trust with doctors anymore."

Feeney filed a lawsuit and won a settlement. Part of the deal is that she cannot name the hospital or doctors involved.

However, there are hospitals across the state that are making mistakes.

According to the 2010 medical errors report, the IU Health network came in first with 16 reported medical mistakes. However, the network includes three hospitals and performed the most procedures out of any other hospital on the list.

IU Health released this statement, Wednesday, in response to the report:

"IU Health remains supportive of the state’s medical error reporting system and believes the report will enhance safety practices and the quality of care at hospitals across the state. As Indiana’s largest health system, and one nationally recognized for its clinical expertise and patient care, IU Health is dedicated to providing high quality patient care and maintaining transparency. While IU Health admitted more than 58,000 patients in 2010, with an error rate of .027%, we maintain that even one error is too many and remain committed to aggressively working toward the goal of zero errors. IU Health actively participates in sharing patient safety information to support the access and exchange of best practices among hospitals and healthcare providers."

You can find the report online.  

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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