200 killed by NHS errors24th January 2007
More than 2,000 patients were affected by hospital blunders leading to at least 200 deaths last year, according to new figures.
Errors reported to health authorities last year include the removal of healthy organs, overdoses of radiation, wrong diagnoses and incorrect use of medical equipment.
The catalogue of mistakes saw a pregnant woman undergo an abortion after being exposed to radiation, while malfunctioning equipment filled one patient’s lungs with water.
The data was compiled from reports made by 141 of the 170 trusts in England and revealed a total of 2,109 serious untoward events. The reporting system is aimed at ensuring organisations learn from their mistakes.
The mistakes included more than 100 patients suffering severe delays in diagnosis or treatment; 55 patients given the wrong medication or too much; more than 40 cases of equipment malfunction. At least 221 of the errors reported caused avoidable death.
Each year the NHS pays out an estimated £2bn in compensation and legal costs, but the Department of Health said the vast majority of patients receive safe treatment.
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