Two of the major public health systems in Chicago have been identified as paying out over $80 million each in a 3 year time period for medical negligence claims. Between 2012 and September 2015, there were 41 cases settled by Cook County Health & Hospitals System (who operates John H. Stroger Hospital), adding up to more than $80.5 million. During that same period, there were 33 cases settled by University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences Systems totaling $83.7 million.
Since 2012, medical negligence settlement totals have varied, without pointing to specific factors for an increase or decrease. The amount of multimillion dollar payouts has grown, in spite of a greater focus on reducing medical errors.
Lawmakers are putting increasing pressure on hospitals to cut down on the number of deaths caused by medical mistakes by cutting funding to facilities with avoidable infections, injuries and deaths. U.S. officials believe these measures are making an impact and are hopeful that the number of errors will start showing a downward trend.
Closely Guarded Statistics
University of Illinois Hospitals revealed that they have roughly 200 patient safety events with varying degrees of severity each week and that information from these events helps them fine tune their efforts to improve patient safety. They also note that it is difficult to compare the volume of their reported patient safety events and medical malpractice payouts to those of other hospitals, as hospitals guard such information closely.
Ultimately, even one patient safety event is too many. U of I Hospital’s Chief Quality & Patient Safety Official, Jodi Joyce, says that ‘Errors are a non-preventable part of health care. We focus on how to contain and detect errors before they reach a patient.’ Unfortunately, as is made obvious by the number of medical error cases and multi-million dollar payouts in recent years, hospitals must work even harder to make patient safety their top priority.
If you or a loved one believes they have been the victim of a patient safety error, our attorneys may be able to help. Please contact us for a free consultation.