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A recent story indicated that reported medical errors in Washington, DC hospitals occur about 1.5 times a day:

An Examiner story Tuesday said there were 529 reported incidents in D.C. in the 12 months ending in June 2008. The human toll: at least 14 people dead and scores of others maimed or injured. The incidents were collected in the first-ever adverse-event report, required under D.C. law to track medical malpractice.

The report referenced is indicative of medical malpractice legislation that protects patients, rather than tort deform laws passed in other states to pad insurance company bottom lines. Instead of protecting the insurance companies, DC’s legislation requires that hospitals track and report medical errors.

Among the errors detailed were a cancer patient who had the wrong breast operated on because of a clerical error, a patient who died when his ventilator failed, and numerous instances when sponges, catheters and even needles were sewn up inside of patients.

Clearly, medical errors occur in the District. Individuals harmed by medical malpractice ought to have the right to seek compensation for these injuries. Thankfully, the DC City Council has elected to fight the cause of medical malpractice, rather than closing the court house doors to meritorious cases like several other states.

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