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Nurses report lion's share of medical errors
Results from a survey of hospitals using electronic adverse event and error reporting systems indicate that 92,547 medical errors or adverse events occurred between Jan. 1, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2003. The findings, based on a study by Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, come from analyses of 2.5 million patient days at 26 acute care, nonprofit hospitals.

Among the errors that reached patients, 67 percent caused no harm. Fortunately, of the remaining third that caused injury, 32 percent resulted in only temporary harm, less than 1 percent in permanent or life threatening harm and less than .05 percent contributed to patient death.

The secure, Web-based reporting system was accessible to all hospital employees. Registered nurses, however, reported nearly half of all medical errors (47 percent), while physicians entered only 1.4 percent.

The study was funded in part by grants from the Ruth Kirschstein Individual National Research Service Award and AHRQ. Participating hospitals ranged in size from 120 beds to 582 beds. For more information, visit or call (617) 636-0200 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (617) 636-0200.

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