After Brain Surgery Mistakes, R.I. Lawmakers Propose Tracking System

February 27, 2008

Rhode Island lawmakers are proposing a system to investigate and track medical mistakes and so-called “near misses” after brain surgeons at Rhode Island Hospital operated on the wrong side of patients’ heads last year on three separate occasions.

Bills introduced in the House and Senate would create a Rhode Island Patient Safety Organization.

The Department of Health already requires hospitals and nursing homes to report medical mistakes, but they don’t have to report near misses.

Health Director David Gifford says that information is crucial to preventing similar mistakes in the future.

The system would be voluntary and people could not be punished for reporting to the organization.

Gifford says that’s to encourage people to come forward.

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