New Hampshire hospitals that are guilty of serious errors may soon be required to report these missteps to the public, under a new law that is under consideration in the state.
The legislation centers on so-called "never events," which are defined by the National Quality Forum as medical care errors that are "clearly identifiable, preventable and serious in the consequences for patients – and that indicate a real problem in the safety and credibility of a healthcare facility," the Union Leader reports.
A 1999 study by the Institute of Medicine estimated that between 44,000 and 98,000 people die as a result of never events in U.S. hospitals each year.
However, New Hampshire is one of the states that does not keep track of such events, which the institute said may include problems such as adverse drug events, improper transfusions, surgical injuries and mistaken identities of patients – among others.
Lori Nerbonne of NH Patient Voices told the publication that it is in the public’s interest to know about hospital errors.
"We pay for this care, and as consumers, have a basic right to know if we or our family has been harmed or died as a result of it," she explained.