To evaluate the state's adverse-event reporting law, The Courant compared cases known to have been reported and investigated against incidents of apparent medical mishaps drawn from death records and lawsuits.
The Courant obtained and analyzed computerized records of more than 100,000 state death certificates from mid-2004 through 2007 — the latest date for which records are currently available. Cases that might be reportable under the current or former law were identified by isolating deaths that occurred in hospitals where the cause of death indicated the possibility of a medical error or accident, such as a death where the primary cause was listed as an unintentional cut during a surgical operation. Reporters then interviewed family members and others to learn more about some of those deaths.
The paper also analyzed electronic records of state lawsuits, identifying malpractice suits in which hospitals were named as defendants. That research was supplemented by directories and listings of verdicts and settlements in malpractice cases. Reporters then reviewed scores of files in courthouses around the state, and spoke with lawyers and plaintiffs.
To determine which cases had been investigated by the state, The Courant obtained and reviewed thousands of pages of health department investigative documents, as well as a spreadsheet providing basic information on every investigated case. For all cases in the stories, The Courant also contacted the hospital involved.
•On Fox 61Matthew Kauffman will talk about this story Monday, on the Fox 61 Morning News, after 7:30 a.m.Copyright © 2015, CT Now