A young boy died while he was in the hospital after being left under a heating blanket for a long period of time, causing his body temperature to soar to a deadly level.
It was reported that the child had arrived at the hospital with a below normal temperature, so he was then given the heating blanket. The hospital records show that he didn’t have his temperature checked over the course of 10 hours. The hospital also said that the boy had “ongoing, complex and life-limiting health issues.”
Once he finally had his temperature checked, it had risen to 107 degrees Fahrenheit and his blood pressure dropped, so he was taken to the ICU where he later died.
While the protocol for officially reporting deaths is to notify the health department within 24 hours, the hospital waited 77 days to do so.
Because of this incident, the hospital has launched its own investigation for find out more information on what led to the boy’s death.
Research suggest that at least 250,000 people died due to preventable errors in hospitals in 2013 – far exceeding the number of deaths attributed to strokes and Alzheimer’s combined. According to Discovery News, this new study supports a previous analysis which estimated that 250,000 to 440,000 preventable medical error deaths occur each year, making medical errors the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Currently, the United States uses a system for collecting national health statistics which is recommended by the World Health Organization; however, this system does not keep track of medical errors. This means there is no way of knowing the exact number of deaths caused by botched surgeries, faulty prescriptions, or simple computer glitches.
Additionally, researchers reported that the death toll from medical errors would have been even higher had they chosen to include nursing homes and out-patient care in their analysis. The study’s authors hope their work will help shine light on what they claim is one of the most underreported endemics in global health.