Archived Story

Albert Lea hospital has no adverse health events

Published 7:05am Sunday, February 3, 2013

An annual report by the Minnesota Department of Health showed that Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea had no serious errors or deaths in 2012.

The yearly report comes out each January. The Albert Lea hospital had one adverse health event in 2011 when a cotton towel was left in a patient. There were no events in 2010.

The Department of Health requires hospitals, surgery centers and similar places in Minnesota to report whenever one of 28 mistakes occur. It calls these mistakes “adverse health events” or sometimes “never events.” The data and background information is shared with all the other medical facilities in an effort to make sure they don’t happen again. The mistakes can range from surgery on the wrong patient to incorrect medication to getting air in the bloodstream to someone impersonating a doctor to a baby discharged to the wrong person.

The Minnesota Department of Health found that the total number of adverse events stayed about the same compared to the year before, but more patients experienced serious harm or death related to these events. Most of the increase was related to serious falls. During the same period, the number of serious bedsores, retained foreign objects and medication errors decreased. The adverse health events reporting system report released Jan. 31 tracks 28 types of serious events, such as wrong-site surgeries, severe bedsores, falls, or serious medication errors, which should rarely or never happen.

Statewide, there were 14 deaths in 2012 compared to five in 2011 and 89 serious injuries compared to 84 in 2011. While most of this increase was due to a higher number of serious falls, deaths related to suicides and elopements also increased slightly. Nearly 90 percent of the cases of harm or death were a result of falls. Over the life of the reporting system, falls, medication errors, and suicide have been the most common causes of serious patient harm or death.