Medical Malpractice & Inpatient Safety

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Despite advancements in awareness, advocation, and litigation, medical malpractice remains a persistent threat to patients – especially those requiring extended hospital stays.

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) sheds new light on the prevalence and severity of these adverse events occurring during hospitalization. 


Conducted across 11 hospitals in Massachusetts, the study examined 2809 admissions, aiming to identify adverse events through meticulous medical record reviews. Adverse events were flagged using a trigger method, with nurses conducting initial reviews and physicians providing final adjudication.

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Key Findings

The results were concerning. Adverse events were identified in nearly one in four admissions. Adverse drug events (ADEs) were the most common, followed by surgical or procedural events, patient-care events, and healthcare-associated infections. Shockingly, about 25% of these events were preventable – highlighting significant gaps in patient safety.

Of particular concern were preventable adverse events occurring in approximately 7% of all admissions, some causing severe harm. Patients experiencing adverse events had significantly longer hospital stays compared to those who did not, emphasizing the impact of patient harm on healthcare outcomes.


The study underscores the urgent need for improved methods of identifying and preventing adverse events. While some events can be reliably tracked, others – like adverse drug events – present challenges due to underreporting and lack of standardized measurement.

Moreover, the variability in adverse event rates among hospitals highlights the necessity for standardized protocols and knowledge sharing. Strong leadership and a safety-focused culture within healthcare organizations are crucial for obtaining meaningful improvements in patient care and patient safety.

By acknowledging the prevalence and preventability of adverse events, healthcare organizations can take proactive steps to enhance safety protocols, staff training, and accountability. Ultimately, the goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality of care, free from the risk of preventable harm. When doctors and hospitals fail to meet this goal, the attorneys at CHH are here to help.

Source: Bates, David W., et al. “The Safety of Inpatient Health Care.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 388, no. 2, 12 Jan. 2023, pp. 142–153,

Hospital Negligence + Patient Safety


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At Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP, we represent Illinois clients in Chicago and throughout Cook County, including the cities of Cicero, Elgin, Schaumburg, Oak Park, Maywood, Berwyn, Elmhurst, Evanston, Skokie, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Palatine and Hoffman Estates. We also help clients in DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County, Will County and Winnebago County. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Illinois, CHH Law is the law firm with attorneys that can help.

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