Everyone has heard their share of medical horror stories but the real horror stories aren’t just fables and urban myths, they’re very real and they can happen anywhere at anytime, a fact that the medical community is reluctant to share. When these terrible events do occur, they are known as “Serious Reportable Events” or SRE.
SREs are inexcusable actions that occur in a healthcare setting. This type of event is considered by the medical community as the “kind of mistake that should never happen”. Mistakes like operating on the wrong body part, leaving an instrument inside of the body, or even operating on the wrong patient fall under the SRE category. The current list of SREs published by the National Quality Forum, which can be found here, strives to outline a list of unacceptable outcomes and focuses attention on promoting safer environments for patients.
These events are serious and largely preventable but raise a huge concern for the public and healthcare providers alike. A similar research study conducted by the Journal of Surgery found that between September 1990 and September 2010, 9,744 paid malpractice claims were filed for SREs in the court systems. The amount rewarded to the victims for all 9,744 totaled over $1.3 billion dollars. But the ultimate price for such a mistake was even greater, the mortality rate for SREs in this study was 6.6%. http://www.surgjournal.com/article/S0039-6060(12)00623-X/abstract
It’s worth noting that this data only covered malpractice claims that were filed. In a recently released study by Johns Hopkins, they claim that roughly 4,000 SREs occur in the United States every year. This number includes reported SRE claims as well as an estimated amount of unreported claims.
If you believe that you, or a love one, have been the victim of a Serious Reportable Event, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to determine if you may have a case.