• Germany's news in English

Thousands at risk of medical errors

DPA/The Local · 24 Jun 2014, 08:23

Published: 23 Jun 2014 17:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Jun 2014 08:23 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Experts from the medical profession recorded a total of 2,243 errors in medical treatment last year, of which 77 cases were fatal.

In more than one in four of the 7,922 treatments that were studied, the patients' suspicion of errors on the part of medical staff were confirmed, said the German General Medical Council in Berlin on Monday.

Around three-quarters of the treatments that were examined were related to hospitals, the remainder at doctor's surgeries. Most of the assessments concerned surgeons in A&E and orthopedists, followed by other surgeons and physicians specializing in internal medicine.

More errors were made last year in cases of arthrosis of the hip compared to individual diseases, albeit with only 73 recorded cases in 2013, with more than a third of the mistakes occurring during operations.

Of the 691 million treatments per year, Johan Neu, executive director of the north German conciliation body, said that no-one knew exactly how many medical errors there really are - but that the numbers showed medical treatment was safe on the whole.

Doctor's enormous work load increases the risk of mistakes. In addition the pressure of costs in hospitals is often very high and puts a strain on the work.

However, lawyer Frank Teipel who specializes in the representation of patients, added that people are repeatedly undergoing unnecessary surgery.

"The statistics from the industrial tribunal only shows the tip of the iceberg,” said Maria Klein-Schmeink health expert from the Green party.

Kathrin Vogler from the Linke added, “Specialists, however, estimate the number of cases are likely to be around a million, and more.”

According to social VdK many patients turn for lack of trust neither the medical profession nor to the cash - and shy away from litigation because of the cost. "As a result, the result is that patients do not get justice," said Ulrike Mascher.

Story continues below…

The German Welfare Society stated that due to lack of trust in medical profession and the insurance companies, many affected patients shy away from legal proceedings because of the cost.

"As a result, the patients do not get justice," said Ulrike Mascher president of the VdK.

The German Hospital Association has called for more money for personnel and infrastructure, so that safety is guaranteed.


For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd