Hospitals are not getting safer for patients according to a study of 10 hospitals in North Carolina (NC) that highlighted the commonplace nature of medical malpractice.

The report in the New England Journal of Medicine was highlighted in an editorial in the Hartford Courant that said patients are dying from preventable malpractice errors and lapses in treatment.

A study of 10 North Carolina hospitals found that incidents of harm to patients remain common, with little evidence of widespread improvement, the New England Journal of Medicine concluded.

It found 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care, some more than once.

Last year our firm reported on how North Carolina (NC) had the second highest number of medical malpractice claims in our region, 146 compared to 112 in Virginia (VA)

The Courant also made reference to a study by the Office of the Inspector General of Health and Human Services on harm in hospitals that showed medical harm contributes to the deaths of as many as 15,000 patients in one month in the USA. This study showed that nearly half of all the preventable problems occurred because of medication errors.

The report led the Courant to call on Congress to address this issue on a national level, instead of letting each state decide to do something – or not.

Our firm is saddened by the fact conditions do not seem to be improving for patients in hospitals at a time when nursing home abuse is on the rise.

 We have also highlighted how hospital mergers can put patients at increased medical malpractice risk at a time when Norfolk-based (VA) Sentara merges with Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, VA.

 In a recent high profile medical malpractice case involving Portsmouth Naval Center, Virginia (VA), the family of a girl born with mental and physical disabilities was awarded $2.3 million in a settlement with the U.S. Justice department.

 After a medical malpractice incident, it can be difficult to take charge of the situation and to cope. However, North Carolina’s medical malpractice statute of limitation laws, give victims just a short window of time to take action. If you believe you or a family member have been the victim of medical malpractice, it is wise to seek immediate free, confidential legal advice.