The number of medical errors at Minnesota hospitals fell from 2011 to 2012, data from the state’s annual adverse event report indicate.

Statewide, Minnesota hospitals reported 314 medical errors in 2012, compared with 316 in 2011. Minnesota is one of only a handful of states that issues an annual report regarding medical errors, and is currently the only state to report numbers from individual hospitals. The report covers errors in six categories: surgical, environmental, patient protection, care management, products and devices, and criminal events.

Data from 2012 reveal medication errors dropped by 75% since 2011, and were at the lowest level in all nine years of reporting. Other positive changes included a 16% decline in retained foreign objects during surgery, the first decline in this category in five years, and a 9% decline in pressure ulcer incidence, the first significant decline in this category in nine years.

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There was just a single report of a surgical error – an incorrect lens implant during ocular surgery that did not cause serious disability – among all 12,673 surgeries performed in Minnesota in 2012.

“Any event is one event too many,” Jody Schulz, MD, Mayo Clinic Health System’s patient safety officer for southeastern Minnesota said. “Our goal is to never have any events.”

Despite these improvements, there were more injuries related to patient falls and suicides in 2012 compared with 2011. Four people committed suicide in Minnesota Hospitals last year, and two others suffered serious harm from suicide attempts, prompting the Minnesota Department of Health to call for more suicide prevention training for healthcare providers.


  1. Minnesota Department of Health. Adverse Health Events in Minnesota 2012, 9th Annual Public Report. Published: Jan 2013.