Medical errors in local hospitals - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Medical errors in local hospitals

Rochester, MN (KTTC-DT) --

Hospitals around the state are reviewing statistics, as the Minnesota Department of Health releases its 7th annual Adverse Health Events report. It's a collection of serious medical errors, that should not have happened, from the 62 hospitals and surgical centers in the state.

Everybody makes mistakes, but if you work in hospital, some mistakes can be deadly. In hopes of reducing the number of those fatal errors, the Minnesota Department of Health collects hospital records and publishes a list of any wrong-doing.

"Yes, we know what the numbers are. Our total numbers reported are not that different from last year," says Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, Mayo's patient safety officer.

In fact, the statistics for the state's hospitals as a whole did not change very much, adding four more cases for a total of 305 adverse events.

For the hospitals in our area, Owatonna Hospital performed the least amount of surgeries or invasive procedures in 2010, with only 1 adverse event. The same goes for Austin Medical Center, but it performed about 15,000 surgeries. Olmsted Medical Center reported 2 mistakes, one of them led a death. Rochester Methodist Hospital had the most surgeries and 10 mistakes. St. Marys hospital had the most medical errors, 33, and performed almost 133,000 surgeries.

"A large percentage of them are made up of events that are very, very hard to prevent, like falls and pressure ulcers. So, I think we're all working on those very hard and trying to figure out ways to make those less likely to happen," explains Morgenthaler.

He also says Mayo tries to learn from each error by bringing in a specialist to re-examine them. We have a link on our website to the full report of all the state's hospitals adverse events. Just go to to see it.

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