Virginia has No Mandatory Reporting for Preventable Medical Errors | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A revealing report indicates over 200,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors and hospital-acquired infections. However, this may be low balling the actual number of preventable deaths considering many states, including Virginia, do not have any mandatory requirements for “adverse event reporting” (i.e. preventable medical errors).

Adverse events are defined differently by various states but the general scope of the term is similar to the National Quality Forum’s 27 adverse events that are “serious and largely preventable,” according to

These events include surgery performed on the wrong body part, patient death or disability due to a medication error (i.e. over or under prescribed medication), patient death or serious disability after suffering from a fall at a health care facility.

Here’s a heart-wrenching story illustrating a preventable medical death…

These types of events also include unintended retention of a foreign object in a patient after surgery. This is a fancy way of saying a doctor left an item in you while they were conducting surgery.

My colleague, represented a client who suffered severe side effects after it was discovered a doctor who performed a surgery on our client left a sponge inside them leading a bowel resection surgery.

It is clear Virginia (VA) needs to take aggressive action and implement some type of adverse event reporting. Not only will it help gauge the number of preventable errors in Virginia (VA) hospitals, but it’s simply the right thing to do.