Thousands die from medical errors

Last year saw twice the number of treatment errors by Norwegian medical staff than a decade ago.

The alarming new figures come via the Norwegian System of Compensation for Patients (NPE), which said that in 2010, there were 4,352 different cases of treatment errors by the Norwegian Health System. In addition to this, only 70 percent of such patients were given compensation after their ordeals.

Professor Peter E Hjort, from the NPE, said that with the use of foreign studies, his organisation has estimated that some 2,000 patients die per year as a result of improper treatment in the Norwegian Health System. He added that there were an estimated additional 15,000 patients that must deal with permanent injuries due to medical errors.

Meanwhile, lawyer Winther Christensen said that the current legal system for such patients is adequate. He told the Norway Post, “I think the rules are too strict, and that more independent professionals should be involved in each case.” However, he admitted that in 90 percent of such cases authorities involved generally listened only to doctors’ testimonies rather than those from patients.

For the seven in ten individuals that were able to secure compensation over the last five years, the most common conclusion of the cases was “treatment failure.”