I ran across an article on Fox New’s website today about a government study and plan that would try to prevent medical errors.

The goal is to cut preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent over the next three years, said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who announced the initiative with consumer and industry groups. She said it could result in 1.8 million fewer injuries and saving more than 60,000 lives over the period.

They also want to reduce hospital readmissions by 20 percent.

Medicare, which provides medical coverage for about 45 million elderly Americans, could save as much as $50 billion over the next decade, HHS said.

Let me give you an example.

Mama Smith goes in for abdominal pain. They decide she needs to have laproscopic surgery. The physician during the surgery, cuts Mama’s bowel but doesn’t know it. She is out of surgery and everyone assumes she is fine. On day 3, she is almost death, septic and her body cavity is eaten with infection from the bowel leak that was caused and not discovered during the surgery. Mama needs additional surgery, rehab, she develops pressure ulcers, wounds, more rehab, more care.

A Medical error could cost us the tax paper, $300,000 in follow up care paid for by Medicare. This is where the $50 billion comes in. Fewer mistakes, fewer errors, less treatment needed to remedy the errors.

Sure, this plan might put me out of business, but if there are fewer medical errors and few families suffering, I won’t mind looking for other work.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at