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Avoidable damage to health: thousands of medical treatment errors confirmed


Fewer patients became victims of medical treatment errors

Last year, somewhat fewer patients in Germany were victims of medical treatment errors than in the previous year. However, according to experts, patient safety still needs to be improved. Every mistake is one too many. Any human complication can be behind any complication.

Errors in medical treatments decreased slightly

Incorrect or inadequate treatments in doctor's offices or hospitals are not uncommon. According to an older report by the medical service of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (MDS), more and more patients have been affected by treatment errors in recent years. But now the number of errors found in medical treatment has decreased slightly.

Damage to health due to treatment errors

The expert committees and arbitration boards of the German Medical Association made a total of 7,307 decisions nationwide on suspected treatment errors last year (previous year: 7,639).

As is clear from statistics, there was a treatment error in 2,213 cases (previous year: 2,245).

"Of these, a treatment error / lack of risk education was identified as the cause of health damage in 1,783 cases, which justified the patient's right to compensation (previous year: 1845)," wrote the German Medical Association in a message.

According to the information, the most common diagnoses that led to allegations of treatment errors were knee and hip arthrosis, as well as lower leg and ankle fractures.

In 430 cases there was a treatment error / lack of risk information, which, however, did not result in any causal damage to health.

Every mistake is one too many

Dr. Andreas Crusius, chairman of the Standing Conference of Expert Commissions and Arbitration Boards of the German Medical Association, pointed out that the most important thing for patient safety is that “we doctors are aware of our enormous responsibility every day and keep in mind that there is often only one between healing and harming there is a fine line ".

This applies in particular to a health system that is increasingly characterized by treatment pressure and economic requirements.

The Federal Statistical Office reports a total of 19.5 million treatment cases in hospitals for the 2016 survey year. In addition, there are around one billion doctor contacts in the practices every year.

"Based on this enormous total number of treatment cases, the number of errors found is, thank God, in the range of parts per thousand," said Crusius. But: Every mistake is one too many. And behind every complication could be serious human fates.

There is no reason for scaremongering and accusations of botching.

What Affected Patients Should Know

It is important for patients to know what to do in the event of a treatment error or who to contact.

If a treatment error is suspected, a memory protocol of the treatment process should first be compiled and the names of the doctors and nurses involved noted.

The burden of proof lies primarily with the patient.

Affected people can contact the Independent Patient Counseling Service (UPD), the expert commissions and arbitration boards of the medical associations, or their health insurance company; this must advise the insured if there is suspicion of treatment errors. (ad)

Author and source information


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