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Medical error: Patients report significantly more suspected cases


Medical treatment errors: Patients complain of more suspected cases
More and more patients in Germany state that they have been treated incorrectly by doctors. However, this does not necessarily mean that doctors work worse. The increase in such suspected cases is due, among other things, to the fact that they are reported earlier today.

A quarter increase
Forget a swab in the body during the operation or make a wrong diagnosis: Medical treatment errors are not uncommon. In the past year, almost one in four patients stated in a survey that they had been treated incorrectly. Now there are new numbers. The Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) recorded 4,400 suspected cases of treatment errors among its insured persons last year. As the cash register reports in a message, this is an increase of a quarter compared to the previous year.

Most suspected cases in the surgical field
The medical service of the Central Association of Health Insurance Funds (MDS) had already recorded an increase in patient reports in the previous year.

According to the current TK report, most suspected cases in the surgical field (1,372) were reported. Dentists came in second place with 606 suspected cases, followed by general practitioners (382) and orthopedists (378).

According to its own information, the TK reclaimed 14 million euros from doctors and clinics last year for the follow-up costs of incorrect treatment.

Suspected cases are reported earlier today
The strong rise in the number of reports is attributed by the health insurance to a greater legal awareness of its members. The insured were particularly intensively informed last year about the risk of treatment errors and the offers of help for those affected.

"As a result, the insured are increasingly using the telephone and reporting such suspected cases to us," said TK medical law expert Christian Soltau. "We firmly believe that care in hospitals and doctor's offices has not deteriorated to this extent."

What affected people can do
However, not every suspected case is confirmed in the course of a review, says Soltau. "It is often difficult for the insured to see whether the course of a disease is fatal or whether the doctors and nurses have made a mistake."

The expert assumes that there is still an undisclosed figure behind the reported cases. For example, according to Soltau, many patients do not know who to contact.

He explained what to do in the case of (suspected) treatment errors: Patients should first contact the doctor directly.

"Those affected should proceed systematically and immediately create a memory log of the treatment process and the doctors and nurses involved," said the medical law expert.

"The more I documented the medical history, the better the chances of success. Because: The insured person must first and foremost prove that doctors or nurses have culpably violated the recognized rules of science and medical practice. "

Health insurance companies must support their insured
The statutory health insurance companies are obliged under the new patient rights law to support their patients with possible advice errors. This can be done, for example, by financing a medical report.

If the TC takes the legal action, it assumes the pioneering role in the judicial process for the insured. "The insured person can wait for the outcome of the process and thereby assess whether an own lawsuit has the prospect of success," said Soltau. In the past year, the TK created 1,492 cases of expert opinions. 61 cases were heard in court. (ad)

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