R.I. Senate Weighs System for Tracking Medical Mistakes

May 30, 2008

A Rhode Island Senate committee plans to vote on creating a new system for tracking medical mistakes and near mistakes after brain surgeons at Rhode Island Hospital operated three times on the wrong side of patients’ heads.

The Department of Health already requires hospitals and nursing homes to report errors, but it doesn’t currently track close calls.

The bill would create a state Patient Safety Organization that identifies the causes of medical errors and fixes them at hospitals and nursing homes statewide. Almost 600 medical errors are reported each year.

A similar proposal is pending in the House.

Sen. David Bates, a bill supporter, says lawmakers want to figure out what causes medical mishaps and prevent them before patients are hurt.

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